The architect ( the first leader who Tektoi the builders arché from the Greek ἀρχή, "beginning", origin, basis, the first and τέχνη techne, art, craft ' and ἀρχιτέκτων ARCHITEKTON, Supreme craftsmen, architects, builders ') concerned with the technical, economic, functional and design planning and construction of buildings and structures mainly of building construction. Its core competence is beyond the construction work of architecture.

  • 5.1 training
  • 5.2 Occupation
  • 5.3 Professional associations
  • 5.4 Labour market and economic situation
  • 6.1 Occupation
  • 6.2 associations
  • 7.1 training
  • 7.2 Occupation
  • 7.3 associations


The job description of an architect is not clearly defined and delineated, country to country and constantly in motion. The range of activities ranging from the " architecture " that the design and architectural theory devotes itself to engineering activities and technical design of buildings through to construction management, coordinated with the planning and execution and their pay particular attention to deadlines, quality and construction costs lies.

The professional field between architecture current or historical blank on one side and the technique used on the other side also correspond to the possible training routes such as universities (especially Technical Universities / Institutes of Technology ), colleges, art academies and career academies, as well as colleges and technical schools. The main areas of training are traditionally placed differently: at art academies in particular emphasis on the design aspect, universities, special attention is given to theory and science education, at colleges is formed on a scientific basis of application-oriented than at the universities and at Berufsakademien is practical, but less wide -ranging formed as at a university. Most institutions now have an individual training profile with their own majors.


The architectural profession has traditionally been applied generalist: the builders of yesteryear created in personal union the design and statics and supervise the construction process. Depending on the era they came from all different classes and occupations, for example, they were in the Roman Empire mostly military engineers ( cf. Vitruvius ), in the early Middle Ages often clerics, in the late Middle Ages from the craft, the Renaissance artist, sculptor or scientist.

Which emerged from the craft of stone carving and Bauhütte tradition medieval builders are referred to in contemporary sources as a foreman or magister operis. After the trade test as a stonemason, they completed additional training and were in accordance with the Master examination qualifies as an architect (see Werkmeister Books )

Only in the 19th century, in the wake of the economic and technological changes due to industrialization, the profession of architect began to emerge as a separate academic discipline. There have been tremendous advances in construction technology, new building projects ( dwellings, fire stations, schools ) surrendered. It originated architecture schools and academies. The there usually shorter -trained architect led continue their specialized on the implementation of construction companies, the academic architects specialized in the design of buildings.

Increasingly, the disciplines architecture and civil engineering were out. The architects dealt mainly with the design of the works of building construction, civil engineers provide all services for the structures of the low - and civil engineering projects and plan the structure for buildings, as they are often involved in the construction management for buildings. The complexity of the tasks it has slowed continuously, so that more established disciplines in the 20th century: urban planning, landscape architecture, interior design, building physics etc.

Towards the end of the 20th century professions are added, which take on many tasks of the classical architect. Construction management and facility management take over the coordination of construction, large companies offer complete design and construction packages so that shift traditional mission fields of the architect. In some areas, a retreat of the architects on the aspect of designing can be observed also in Germany, as is already widely used in the USA for example.

The trend towards specialization makes today not stop at the architectural profession itself generalist applied. In addition to the architect who mainly deals with building construction, in Germany there is still the professions of landscape architects, interior designers and urban designers. Furthermore finds ( etc. Administrative and commercial buildings, cultural building, housing ) take or to specific phases of the fees for architects and engineers (eg design, detailed design, tender or construction management ) an increasing emphasis on specific construction tasks in the individual offices. Moreover, a further specialization can be observed in certain niche markets, as observed, for example, ecological construction or renovation of old buildings.

Fields of work

Typical fields of work that are ( depending on the country office and qualification to varying degrees) covered by Architects:

  • During the entire construction process: project management
  • Coordination of the planning participants, authorities and contractors
  • Representative of the client against those involved in planning, authorities and contractors
  • Basic evaluation, planning
  • Preliminary design of buildings and structures mainly of building construction (see also competition (architecture) )
  • Planning permission ( in Switzerland as a building permit, in Austria called Einreichplan )
  • Implementation planning; Coordination between the various specialist consultants such as building services, structural engineering or fire protection experts
  • Tendering and contracting: preparation and participation in the award of construction contracts, bringing about the necessary contracts
  • Construction management: cost control, schedule control
  • Construction management (including site supervision or supervision )
  • Property maintenance and documentation (HOAI )
  • Asset management, property management, building or facility management
  • Tasks in public administration ( Building Department )
  • Research / Teaching: Theory of Architecture, Construction, Construction Economics
  • Areas of expertise: architectural representation, model
  • Energy Consulting: Implementation of Energy Saving Regulation, Renewable Energies Heat Act, Renewable Energy Act, Subsidies by KfW etc.


Thus, comprising the contents of the discipline are architecture so varied and complex is the work of the architect. As before, the most professional as well as salaried architects working in small, medium to large architectural practices for building design, planning or construction management. Depending on the size and specialization of the offices have partly separate departments with other planners integrated such as laboratory technicians, lighting designers, kitchen planners, structural engineers or specialists in modeling, rendering / visualization or public relations. Due to the changing market for years, however, more and more architects are also commercial activities or take functions as a consultant or consultants. Interior designers, urban planners and landscape architects ( open space planners ) are not professional planners, but disciplines of the profession architecture.

Architectural firms

Apart from minor construction projects such as single-family or two-family houses, the planning process is usually organized strong labor. This does not only work within the architectural offices, but also cooperation with external stakeholders.

Only a few architects edit the complete range of German HOAI with all phases. Rather, the employees of medium and large offices usually deal mainly with some areas of the planning process, such as the design, detailed design, tendering and award of contracts, or construction management. Also, a specialization of architectural firms on the respective phases 1 to 5 (design, approval and planning ) or the power phases 6-9 (economic and structural implementation ) has become widespread.

Because, increasingly, other experts such as transport planners, facade and landscape planners and facility managers, needs to be integrated in any construction project, the work of several engineers as structural engineers and building services engineers, for larger projects, the architect is a high level of communication and coordination skills and at the same time empathy and assertiveness required. Since architecture is always also coupled to the aspect of economy, also economic thinking and action is required by the architect. In the changing and shrinking overall market are highly competitive in increasingly qualities in the project presentation to private and public clients required.

Depending on the focus for the individual architect different skills are required. Requires the design architect particularly outstanding abilities conceptual and representational way ( construction law, environmental protection, etc. ) are in demand for design planners as well as design and also technical design and legal knowledge. In the construction management especially organizational skills and detailed knowledge of the construction process and construction by builders and artisans are required.

This specialization is not to be understood so that the architects involved in a construction project work in isolation from each other. The various phases of the project are strongly interlinked and interdependent. A basic understanding of the entire planning process is therefore essential for the specialist, as well as the cooperation with the civil engineer and for larger projects with the surveyors, other specialists, and the relevant authorities.

The digital revolution of the last decades has, of course, certainly not stopped before planning professions such as architects. While traditional means such as sketches or model be applied in the planning process still. The final planning and preparation of projects, however now created almost exclusively with the aid of CAD programs on the computer. Thus, the control of at least one CAD program today is essential for architects. Often, however, also experience with various programs in both the two-and three-dimensional representation are expected, which is in development and time series sometimes even into the fourth dimension.

More information about the available CAD programs, as well as specialized programs for the architect is to be found in Articles CAD and list of CAD programs.

Due to the now highly fluctuating order situation and consequently uneven workload within most architectural firms flexible working hours are essential depending on the organization. Before important meetings, such as duties of competitions, building permits or builders presentations, therefore, are often overtime and weekend work is essential. In many large-scale projects, the responsible architect or an authorized person to whom he has to be constantly reachable beyond.

Work in other areas

Architects are employed outside their traditional operating field. This may be or activity in the construction and real estate project management on side of building owners. Also worked as Technical surveyors, appraisers or consultants are common. More interdisciplinary interfaces are available with the areas of product design, industrial design, art, film, theater, multimedia, advertising and communication design.



The training for architects carried out in Germany ( and Austria / Switzerland ) at universities as part of a degree in architecture. In addition is also the second chance education via one or more crafts and practice, for example the architectural firm possible. The professional association decides who can call himself an architect, who is entitled template and thus, eg May submit planning applications.

A consecutive Bachelor's Master's degree program usually takes 10 semesters or five years, including the Master's thesis. In some universities, an internship is integrated into the study process. However, the average duration of study is often the theoretical standard period of study.

The bachelor 's degree at the universities will take at least 6-8 semesters and with the academic degree " Bachelor" from. Also often Internships must be furnished prior to commencement of study and during the study for up to 6 months. Architect one is only when you are registered in the Chamber of Architects. To do this you can have at least two years work experience. The bachelor's degree is however partially viewed by the German Chambers of Architects as a non- professional qualification, which is why you should not use the title " architect " in spite of successful completion. Advantages of these financial statements are intended to be modular in the study design and the higher international comparability. When training for Bachelor graduates a master's degree is possible and for graduates of a master 's degree and diploma graduates for the promotion.

The expiring diploma course with the diploma in engineering ( Univ., FH ) or engineer (engineering school -FS ) usually takes as a standard period of study at a university 9 semester at an art academy 10 semesters to a Fachhochschule 8 semesters.

Job Title

In Germany, only an architect can call who is entered in the list of architects of Architects. For this you need regularly in addition to the completed architectural studies a professional experience of at least two years. Details can regulate the architect laws of the respective states and the statutes of the Chambers of Architects.

The professional title of architect entitled to submit a building application and is therefore almost inevitable for working as an independent architect ( freelance architect ) is required. The chambers understood as representing the interests of all architects. That is also, conversely, that the interests of the large number of non- self-employed, working in architecture offices that are not entered in the chamber - especially the graduates - are represented by only a very limited extent through the chambers.

Professional associations

In the Federation of German architect, architects and engineers 20,000 architects and engineers of the construction industry are organized. The Association of German Architects ( VDA ) is another interest group of German architects, interior designers and landscape architects. The Association of German Architects and Engineers Associations (DAI ) are organized 33 local architects and engineering clubs with approximately 4,000 members.

A union of freelance architects in Germany, the Association of German Architects (BDA ), which claims to have about 5,000 members. The union employee Architects Association ( VAA ) is a trade association representing the interests of staff architects in the Chamber of Architects North Rhine -Westphalia and in public.

Labor market and economic situation

In Germany architects are about one-third each to their own, employed in the private sector or working in the public administration. The profession is since the mid-1990s, however, in a severe crisis in the economic situation of architects in Germany deteriorated. Often the profession of architect is assigned to the so-called Academic precarity, ie a group which achieved despite studying far below average income.

As a very capital-intensive, in need of investment by the private sector and the public sector, the construction industry was hit particularly great extent by the economic crisis of the late 1990s and early 2000s and to the precarious financial situation of the public purse. As a result, had to contend with considerable lack of orders, the majority of German architectural firms. Numerous agencies have not survived this crisis.

The profession of architect is subject to change for years. Many once classical fields of activity - from the conceptual development of major projects on the detailed design to construction management - are now offered by project developers, construction companies and other competitors. As a result, the field of activity of such architectural firms that are not able to respond to this development in an appropriate manner, concentrated more and more in recent years.

Similarly, doctors and lawyers have the advantage of an independent architect fee scale (HOAI ) which acts automatically inflation- balancing by coupling to construction costs. Many offices involved in the short term depending on demand architects. Permanent employment is not the rule. Many architects are therefore forced to look for new jobs repeatedly at short intervals, as well as an independent architect.

The Federal Statistical Office calls in 2008 from the tax office data an average gross income for architects of € 54,529 pa It should however be noted that these statistics only in the chamber officially registered professionals are recognized as an architect. The majority of the industry workers earned significantly less. Especially new graduates ' salaries are much lower and settled in comparison with other professions in the lower area.


Job Title

The job titles architect and civil engineers are protected in Austria and may according Ziviltechniker Act of 1993 of persons to whom the relevant powers was not awarded, can not be performed.


In Austria, the architects belong together with the engineering consultants to the group of civil engineers.



In Switzerland, architecture is taught at various universities as part of a degree in architecture.

Job Title

The professional title of architect is protected in Switzerland by no means, therefore, there are many practitioners who call themselves so. Thus, the requirements for the professional practice are not uniformly regulated. Only in the French-speaking cantons of Switzerland, Ticino and Lucerne write the cantonal building codes before the minimum qualitative requirements for architects and civil engineers. The academic degrees from the acquisition of diplomas, however, are protected by law.


In Switzerland, the architectural scene is taken in three associations. The Federation of Swiss Architects (BSA ), the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects ( SIA ) and Swiss Engineering STV (formerly Swiss Technical Association ), the largest professional association of all engineers and architects. Especially in Switzerland, there is also the profession of high Bauzeichners, who assumes a supportive function in an architectural office.


In Spain, the job title is protected Architect ( Arquitecto ) as in Germany and is a study of the architecture, as well as belonging to a Spanish architect chamber ahead. In addition to the comparable with the German architect Arquitecto exists in Spain yet another professional group, will take over the crucial tasks in the building planning and programming, the so-called técnicos Aparejadores or Arquitectos. Unlike the Arquitectura which i.a. the union design, architectural and historical issues considered and teaches the four -year academic Arquitectura técnica, on the technical and structural problems of construction concentrated. However, the Aparejador is not Arquitecto, but an Ingeniero Civil and therefore equated with the civil or Anglo-American Civil engineer. Its scope of services covers mainly the areas of site management and - monitoring, tendering, contracting and coordination with the authorities.


The Japanese equivalent of the general term architect is kenchikuka (Japanese建筑 家), who construct buildings from kenchiku ' and ka here about, -practitioner ' composed. However, this is not legally protected.

However, building design and construction in Japan may only be carried out by state- certified architects who are called kenchikushi (建筑 士), where shi for, scholar is '. Their legal requirements are in Kenchikushi - hō set (建筑 士 法, "Architects Act") of 1950. This recognizes three classes of Architects: first class (一级 建筑 士, Ikkyu kenchikushi ) containing any type of buildings plan and allowed to build, architects 2nd class (二级 建筑 士, Nikyu kenchikushi ) smaller for a limited type of buildings extent and timber - architects (木造 建筑 士, mokuzō kenchikushi ) for smaller wooden building. So may, for example, public buildings such as schools, hospitals, theaters, etc., with a floor area exceeding 500 m² or a height of more than 13 m only by architects 1st class to be built. This will get their license from the Ministry of Construction, the other two architects classes of their respective prefecture. In 1995 there were 264 398 architects 1st class, 2nd class 566 791 architects and 11,386 timber architects.