What is a Building Architect?

Diane Goettel

A building architect is an architect who is responsible for overseeing the design and construction of a very large building or complex of buildings. In some cases this person is also responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the building or complex of buildings. A building architect may work directly for the company that owns the structures for which he is responsible. In other cases, he may work for the company that manages the structures. Unlike architects who are employed by architecture studios and work in teams, a building architect may be the only architect on his employer's payroll.

A building architect might be employed by a large amusement park.
A building architect might be employed by a large amusement park.

This is not to say that a building architect never works with other architects. Rather, a building architect is often responsible for overseeing the work of other architects. These architects may be hired by the building architect's company to complete a certain project. The building architect is responsible for offering an expert opinion on the work of hired teams and to convey the interests and needs of his employers back to these teams.

Architects are expected to have a familiarity with Computer Aided Design & Drafting, or CADD, software, as well as an understanding of traditional building design.
Architects are expected to have a familiarity with Computer Aided Design & Drafting, or CADD, software, as well as an understanding of traditional building design.

The term building architect may be a bit confusing to some people who think of all architects as people who are involved in the construction of buildings. The truth is, however, that there are some architects who work primarily on restoration instead of construction. There are also architects who work on urban planning and do not get directly involved with the construction of buildings that will become a part of that plan. Landscape architects may work on projects such as public parks that include no buildings at all.

A building architect is responsible for designing a site's blueprints.
A building architect is responsible for designing a site's blueprints.

There are a number of kinds of buildings and building complexes for which a building architect may be responsible. A very large airport might keep this kind of architect on staff, especially if the airport is planning an expansion or remodel. A large amusement park might also have this kind of architect on staff. In both of these cases, the architect would have to have a good deal of previous experience working with the kind of buildings that he is overseeing. If a company were to plan the construction of a huge medical complex, it might hire an architect with experience working on health care buildings.

Some building architects work directly for the company that owns the structures they are responsible for.
Some building architects work directly for the company that owns the structures they are responsible for.

In almost all cases, architects who are hired in this kind of capacity are quite seasoned. They may oversee the design and construction of a building from start to finish and then move on to another project for another company. In some cases they work as consultants.

A building architect oversees the design and construction of a building or complex of buildings.
A building architect oversees the design and construction of a building or complex of buildings.

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