Career Profile – Architect

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Name: Michael Lamb

Job: Architect

I studied architecture in DIT Bolton Street. It was a five-year course and most people would take a year off somewhere along the way to go travelling or gain work experience. Once you have graduated, you go to work in an architectural firm’s office, and after a minimum of two years’ work experience, you can then go and sit your RIAI professional practice exams. Registration just came in very recently; it used to be that you could practice as an architect without being registered – but now you can’t do that.

It is a high-pressure job, no doubt about it. In college you have plenty of time to do things and think about your project and so on, but as soon as you graduate you realise the pace at which things need to be done. The time you have to design has gone way down, and the amount of pressure on you is very high. There’s an element of salesmanship to the job as well. Once you have designed a building, you have to sit down and actually sell that concept to a client. They prepare you for this in college. You have things that are called ‘crits’, where you stand up in front of maybe six lecturers, all fully qualified architects who have been working in the industry for many years, and forty or fifty of your classmates, and give a presentation of your design.

What are the benefits of the job? Well when you’re up the walls and running around the place, you kind of wonder! One advantage is that you will definitely meet lots of people. You work in teams within the office, but you also work with a team of consultants as well. In that sense it is quite enjoyable, although not all of them are always very nice!It’s also very enjoyable after all the long hours of hard work to actually see the finished building; it is very satisfying in that sense. And also I suppose, some work such as schools and buildings like that, it feels like your contributing to the well being of society in some ways. Different characteristics will fit the different types and styles of architect, but I suppose one thing you have to be is confident, you also need good communication skills, patience (a lot of projects can go on for years and years), creativity of course, and a hard-working attitude as it is a tough industry.


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