How do I Become a Retail Architect?

Harriette Halepis

A retail architect is a type of licensed architect that solely focuses upon designing retail spaces. A retail space can include anything from a shopping mall to a shoe store. As with any other type of architect, a retail architect must hold a degree in architecture. In many ways, a career in architecture begins at the high school level, and develops further during college years.

Some retail architects design commercial building exteriors and related features such as parking lots.
Some retail architects design commercial building exteriors and related features such as parking lots.

High school students who want to become architects should start by selecting math and science courses outside of a general curriculum. Architecture is heavily based upon mathematics, which is why high school students must learn to excel in this field. In addition, science courses that are related to engineering will also prove to be highly useful throughout a student's college years.

Retail architects often work for large retail companies.
Retail architects often work for large retail companies.

When it comes to choosing an college level architecture program, students have a few options. Some programs are five-year programs, while other programs are two-year programs. In most instances, two-year programs are followed by obtaining Master's of Architecture degree. Those students that attend a five year program may also decide to acquire a master's degree, though this is not always necessary.

A retail architect designs stores and other retail buildings.
A retail architect designs stores and other retail buildings.

Architecture is a unique profession that rewards architects with many years of experience. Therefore, college students should acquire architecture internships in addition to college course completion. This will help a recently graduated college student to gain a job within their field following graduation. In order to become a retail architect, students will have to focus upon specific courses that are based upon retail architecture.

Retail architects often work for large retail companies, though some of these professionals may also work on a contractual basis. Often, a large clothing or shoe company will hire a retail architect to design stores all over the globe. Thus, to become a retail architect, a person must be able to effectively communicate with people from all parts of the world. Those architects who can speak many languages are often in high demand within the retail architecture business.

Aside from educational requirements, in order to become a retail architect, certain personality traits are required. Assertiveness, determination, and acute analytical skills are all necessary. In addition, the ability to work with a large team of other professionals is crucial. Lastly, to become a retail architect a person must be willing to travel on occasion.

It is not uncommon for a company to send a specialized architect to other countries in order to design stores. Therefore, those that desire to become a retail architect should have an interest in traveling. Retail architecture is an exciting profession full of traveling, people, and cultures, though it is also a profession that requires a great deal of experience and schooling.

Some architects specialize in designing shopping malls and other retail commercial properties.
Some architects specialize in designing shopping malls and other retail commercial properties.

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