Senior architects typically work in an architectural firm and are responsible for single projects or specific aspects of very large and complex undertakings. Architects develop, design, and oversee construction of a variety of structures. Senior architects may work on high-profile jobs and oversee many other workers on the job. The different types of senior architect jobs can include pre-design, design, construction, and landscape architecture.
Pre-design architecture projects occur when the job is still in the imagination stages. Clients hire an architectural firm to help them realize their vision for a specific type of structure, such as an office building, hospital, or church. Senior architect jobs on a pre-design project involve more than just design. These projects can include site selection, cost and design analysis, and land use or environmental impact studies. Ingenuity and knowledge of legal restrictions and zoning regulations help in this part of the field.
Architectural design projects take things past the planning stage into actual structural design. At this stage, senior architect jobs involve creating a concept that will match a client’s vision. This position requires excellent communication skills, as extensive meetings go on while the plan is being developed and worked out. Senior architects at this level need to know zoning laws and regulations, since this is the stage in which they join the feasibility of the design with the vision.
Construction architect jobs involve working on the job site in the building phase of a project. Senior construction architect jobs require in-depth knowledge of engineering and construction. The top architect on this type of project keeps the job on schedule and routinely conducts inspections to verify proper building materials and check the quality of work as it progresses. This is a highly responsible and intricate position that requires years of experience and knowledge of multiple systems, building codes, and safety regulations.
On a job site, the senior architect may be in charge of overseeing many different areas of the building project, including air conditioning, heating, plumbing, and electrical systems. Large projects can include multiple building types and may cover surrounding outdoor areas, such as on a college campus or office complex. Senior architect jobs on construction sites typically involve more building and engineering than creativity and design.
Reaching the level of senior architect requires years of school and experience, and many architects branch off into specialty areas through the course of their careers. Work experience provides the background needed to qualify for the different senior architect jobs. It is also helpful to regularly brush up on current zoning laws and building or safety codes.