Everyone has a bundle of traits, personality markers, and preferences that make some careers more suitable than others – so what personality traits do architects have?
Should you be an architect?
You don’t need to show all the 28 potential signs to consider studying architecture, but signs you should be an architect include some of the following.
Architects are passionate about buildings, bridges, dams, structures, and how they look and work.
Suppose you are obsessed with details of how a roof looks on a building and can tell your Renaissance villa from a Gothic house in excruciating detail.
In that case, there is no question about what you should study and why studying architecture will benefit you immensely.
Architects have a strong desire to introduce unique ideas to the ever-diverse built environment.
They do not settle for what works, although it can be an excellent foundation for new ideas.
Signs you should study architecture include an obsession with buildings and an ambition to create.
It’s hard to get a handle on what intelligence means.
You can call it emotional, IQ, or book smart.
But when you strip it down to basics, intelligence is about understanding and applying knowledge and skill.
High levels of intelligence are necessary for most university degrees and postgraduate learning, but architects must assimilate knowledge over many fields – history, art, construction methods, design, business, and computers.
Intelligent people like studying and learning, and architecture involves lifelong learning.
Architects are practical people because everything they create has a practical application and involves practical skills in the making.
Many architects are skilled with tools, but all architects have a practical approach to designing structures for the building team and the client.
Architects create functional spaces for people.
4. Hard Working
Architecture students put in extended hours, and this practice continues into the long-hours corporate culture of architectural firms.
Is architecture hard?
If you are not prepared to work hard, then architecture is not right for you.
Many are dreamers, less are doers. And even less are doers who are willing to put in the hard yard to reach their goals.
Some people are attracted to architecture and then discover that they don’t like the hard work involved in getting the degree and working for the license.
All good things come from a great deal of effort and willingness to continue building on the skills and experience necessary to reach the summit.
Working hard is not a sign you should be an architect, but it is a sign that you are likely to succeed if your goal is to become an architect.
5. Spatial Awareness
Should you become an architect if you can’t parallel park a car?
Spatial awareness is a complex skill necessary to understand how a structure fits human needs. Understanding space and volume is a key skill that all successful architects possess.
Is architecture right for you?
If you have excellent spatial awareness, then architecture studies may suit you.
Does an architect need to draw when we design everything on a computer with the aid of AI?
Artistic ability is more than an ability to draw.
Artists in all fields have an intuitive appreciation of beauty, form, structure, composition, and color.
Some artists create pictures of buildings, and others are architects who design the buildings others paint.
Architecture is a creative pursuit that some artistic people embrace because it gives them the ability to make visible the buildings they see in their imagination.
Photography is a crucial component that encapsulates the essence of architecture.
If your artistic aspirations center around structures and architectural features dominate your holiday snaps, then it could be a sign you should study architecture.
7. Good at Sketching
Visualizing ideas and instantly communicating them via freehand drawing is a core skill differentiating the architect from other industry professionals.
It is a rare skill that younger architects have lost touch with since the advent of drafting and rendering software.
Architects with artful drawing skills are like an endangered species; consider yourself fortunate if you are one of them.
How to know if architecture is for you?
If you enjoy communicating your thoughts through sketching with a pencil on paper, architecture is the perfect fit for you.
8. Good with Numbers
You don’t need the mathematical skills of a theoretical quantum physicist to be an architect.
You do need to be comfortable with the practical application of mathematics as an architect.
If you like geometry and are comfortable with calculus and algebra (the prerequisite high school math subjects), you have the right numeracy level for a subject like architecture.
If you detest all forms of mathematics and don’t appreciate math’s importance in constructing buildings, architecture is not the right field.
9. Gifted with Words
Although an architect can design a great ivory tower, they don’t live or work in them.
Architects need to be good with words to describe their plans and sell their ideas through effective design presentations.
Architectural firms compete with bids and presentations, so a high level of literacy is necessary.
Plus, there are all the building regulations, material specifications, and historical context to research and understand.
Being sensitive may not be the first quality that springs to mind when you think of the architectural profession, but the era of Brutalism was short.
An architect needs sensitivity to understand how a building fits into and complements its surroundings.
When restoring a historic building, the architect in charge displays sensitivity to keeping faith with the building’s roots and what it means to the people who want to see it preserved and renovated.
Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels, and the quality of empathy is an overlooked sign of a great architect.
You can describe the great churches of the Renaissance as prayers in stone.
The architect needs to understand how their work makes other people feel – you can’t do that without empathy.
The best structures have an impact because the architect sees the design by knowing how other people will react and interact.
They can see their work through other people’s eyes and emotions.
Resilience is the quality that lets you bounce back from a crushing defeat or disappointment. You get knocked down, but you get up and dust yourself down and carry on.
An architect needs resilience – picture the scene when you spend a week of late nights polishing your presentation and design for the client, and the client hates it.
Resilience or grit lets you go back to the drawing board (literally), dig deep, and come up with something new.
Resilience or grit gets you out of bed and into the design lab or out to some remote construction site.
Resilience means you can persevere and get the job done even for little or no reward – a quality you’d need to excel as an architecture student.
An architect is in the middle – the client, the contractors, and the legal framework are in opposition to each other most of the time.
As an architect, you deal with people because your work is about finding ways to meet client needs, negotiating with contractors, and navigating challenging legal hurdles.
Clients change their minds, contractors fail to deliver, and officials are unnecessarily officious – that’s on a good day.
To thrive, you need to understand what buttons to press to get everybody working together on your side, and for that, you need diplomacy.
Would you make a good architect?
If you are the peacemaker in your family, if you are the one that remains calm when everyone else is shouting and hurling insults – then you have the diplomatic skills of an architect.
Architects dare to dream, and when they dream, they dream big.
An architect can look at a barren hillside and see a house that hugs the hill like a coiled serpent, with bronzed windows that catch fire in the setting sun.
The success of any building project ultimately starts from a single designer’s vision – a person who dares to dream big and take the road less traveled.
All architects are visionaries who embrace new technology, new ways of thinking, and capture the zeitgeist.
Art and architecture complement and reflect each other through the ages.
Ultimately architects create functional structures for human use.
Architects design everything from hospitals, retirement villages, offices, and factories to parks, bridges, and dams.
You need to care about the people who use the structures you create because you can’t design for their needs if you don’t care.
The greatest architects go further – they design for functionality like corridors wide enough for wheelchair access, but they also build to feed the soul – windows to bring in natural light and atriums to create a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy hospital.
Fundamentally, architects care enough to strive to make people’s lives better every day.
It is not enough to see an impressive building; you need to know why it is still standing, how to build it, where the material came from, and why it was in this place.
Architects are deeply curious about everything from the spiral of a snail’s shell (think spiral staircase) to new materials and how best to use them.
That inquisitive nature means asking lots of questions, which is useful in creating new designs and finding out what the client wants from a project.
If you have to know how and why it works, that’s a sign you should be an architect.
Some people can’t be bothered with the tiny details.
If they cook a meal, they miss out on the garnishes; if they build a bird table, they do the minimum to get the job done with lumber they have around.
Detail-oriented people are different; even if they are not great chefs, a detail orientated person will dice the onions and remember to sprinkle with parsley before serving.
If a detail-oriented person builds a bird table, they may still use lumber they have around, but they make sure it is fit for purpose.
Their bird table has all the additional features to make it an attractive and valuable addition to the backyard.
Architects are detail-oriented people, not only the decorative elements but also the functional elements – weather-resistant nails and cladding thickness.
Architectural projects are full of detail, specifications, construction methods, and design flourishes.
Structures must be safe as well as functional, and that means an eye for detail is essential.
18. Always Learning
Technology, tools, and methods change continuously.
New software comes out, new materials and new ways of working are a constant in everyone’s lives, but architects need to keep learning.
No architect can reach the top of their profession and think they know everything because there is always something new in the field.
The habit of continual professional development needs someone willing always to learn and improve.
To be a successful architect, you need the mindset of someone who enjoys learning and doesn’t see it as a chore.
Architecture will provide you with space to grow and find fulfillment if you enjoy acquiring new skills and applying them to do things better.
19. Lateral Thinking
Lateral thinkers make surprising connections and come up with novel uses for traditional materials.
A lateral thinker sees storage containers as modular building blocks or how to fit a dwelling into a landscape and preserve the trees.
Lateral thinkers do not stay in the groove of traditional methods; they can look at the world differently and create new solutions.
What qualities make a great architect?
The best architects are masters of lateral thinking.
20. Safety First
A safe attitude is as much mindset as training.
An architect needs a safety-first perspective because unsafe buildings kill people.
When you look at your behavior, do you put safety first?
It is the attention to detail – checking your mirrors before driving off, not leaving sharp knives in the washing up bowl, and routinely studying the instructions and potential hazards for new items.
A mixture of attention to detail, knowledge, and caring creates a safety-first mindset, and every architect needs it.
A determined and steadfast attitude is crucial in successfully navigating the years of study and training necessary to become a licensed architect.
The architect faces numerous obstacles and challenges in practice – winning the client and guiding a project to a successful conclusion.
Determination keeps an architect at the computer screen, creating the design and presentation, determination to see a project through to the end gets the architect out to the site, and sitting through endless meetings.
Determination is a character trait in most successful professionals, but architects have bucket loads of it.
It is a myth that all creative people are disorganized and chaotic.
Most artists have their studios organized to the inch.
They lay out their paint palette in the same order, clean and dry their brushes because when creating, they don’t need to lose the flow in hunting for the right paint tube.
Architects need to organize because they keep track of many details like – permissions, designs, contracts, and progress charts.
A building project is a massive undertaking, and without skillful organization, it will be behind on time, cost too much, and may be neither legal nor safe.
Organization is a vital component of an architect’s work.
Unlike engineers, architects do not focus solely on a single disciple.
The architect’s multirole includes being the artist, coordinator, contract administrator, and master designer the client depends on for guidance and leadership.
What skills do you need to be an architect?
There are many; designing is fun but forms only one part of an architect’s wide-ranging job scope.
Is architecture art, or is architecture science?
Architecture is a balanced mix of both – a multi-ingredient product of artistic flair with a heavy dose of physics, mathematics, and economics.
You are not constructing pretty pictures.
An architectural design must translate into a built structure that withstands the test of load, time, and weather and perform a specific set of functions for a select group of users.
25. Digitally Capable
Computer skills revolutionize most industries, and the digital world creates the ability to let clients walk through and experience the design before anyone breaks ground on a new site.
3D rendering is a tool for architects as well as game designers, movie producers, and tourist boards.
Signs you should be an architect include a love of computer-aided design and a passion for learning new software and pushing the digital boundaries.
Other design-based industries that architects can venture into are open to a skilled digital designer, but architecture is a natural fit for your skillset.
Some people form a plan and then can’t deviate from it, even when it no longer works.
Adaptable people can change their approach to find the most successful solution for changing circumstances.
Architects need to be flexible.
Picture renovating an old building and discovering some historic features hidden by paneling; the inflexible person ignores this new development, but the adaptable architect can evaluate the latest developments and change their plans.
The capacity to adapt to new circumstances and changes is vital if you want to study to be an architect.
Every project you get involved in will throw up surprises along the way – underground streams, archaeological finds, and human obstacles.
Every vision starts with a grand plan, and the architect needs to chart progress and iron out many details before it gets built.
Unfortunately, even the best plans face hiccups and unexpected challenges, and architectural designs are no different.
You can expect to put your analytical skills to the test consistently to resolve them.
Basic analytical skills will suffice in architecture studies. You develop and sharpen these skills as you progress in school and your career.
Motivation is the driving force of human activity.
Your motivation to be an architect may arise from a creative impulse, a desire to leave your mark on the world, a wish to improve lives, or the enjoyment of solving problems.
How do you know if architecture is right for you?
If you are motivated to pursue a career in architecture because you are passionate about buildings and design, you are suitable for architecture.
Ultimately, a passion for architectural design is the best sign you should become an architect – it is a key trait successful architects have.
Without it, you will have enough reasons not to choose architecture as a career.