Architects: Designing The Buildings Of Tomorrow
Essay Preview: Architects: Designing The Buildings Of Tomorrow
Report this essay
“Five architects, including the designer of the new federal building in Oklahoma City and two finalists in the contest for the World Trade Center memorial, will vie for a commission that marks the latest step in Mayor Richard M. Daleys plan to make Chicago Ðthe greenest city in America” (Kamin). This article shows that architecture is a quickly growing profession. The profession demands a lot of education in math and science, but there is room for creativity as well. Because it is one of the quickest growing professions, there is a lot of money involved as well, both in spending cost and earnings. Of course, there is testing and studying involved as well. Architecture has been slowly developing through the centuries; now it is a highly-paid career that uses computers and models to design the buildings of the future.
Architecture first began around six thousand years ago, “when humankind took up farming on a regular basis” (Glancey 14). Because of this, people had to build permanent shelters, instead of mobile ones. The type of shelter that was built depended on three main points of architecture: “natural characteristics, cultural characteristics, and technical characteristics” (Piper 15). The amount of importance put on each of these points affected the type of buildings a civilization built. The first civilization to use architecture was the Mesopotamians, who mostly used clay bricks, which are easily molded and engraved; because of this, many Mesopotamians buildings were carved with decorative designs and murals depicting the history of their civilization. In the Nile River Valley around 3000 B.C., the Egyptians built pyramids of stone to help the recently deceased pharaohs into the afterlife. Around 2300 years later, the Greek Empire came about and used marble, a “strong and beautiful building material” (Piper 17), along with simple, pure, and proportional geometric shapes to build monuments. Eventually, the Greeks were taken over by the Romans, who built large structures using new inventions like the ellipse and the arch, a new and more efficient way to hold up ceilings. In the Middle Ages, huge fortresses and castles were built on hilltops to protect people from oncoming threats. At around 1200 A.D., the Renaissance started and Gothic architecture was born. Pointed arches and columns were used to make the building seem tall and holy. During this same time, Europeans began influencing the peoples of the New World to “produce architectural styles unique to the New World” (Piper 19). Finally, from the 1700s to the present, the breaking apart of many monarchies ended the architecture of palaces and castles and produced a new architecture for the common citizen, such as apartment buildings and shopping centers (Piper 15-21).
Today, architecture is defined as the science and art of building. Therefore, an architects job is to “design the overall aesthetic and functional look of buildings and other structures” (U.S. Department of Labor). They confront clients with ideas for buildings and then use special computer programs to design, test, and measure the safety and efficiency of the proposed building. They must make sure the building site and budget is appropriate for the project; then they must oversee each major phase of the construction. They must also discuss any potential problems with their clients before or during the construction. After the building is complete, the architect may have to decide on furnishings and colors for the building as well. Finally, the architect must make observations of everyday life in the building to see if there is room for improvement (U.S. Department of Labor).
Architects normally work in “a comfortable environment” (U.S Department of Labor). They are usually in offices, “consulting with clients, developing reports and drawings, and working with other architects and engineers” (U.S Department of Labor). They also oversee the progress construction sites. “As of 2003, there were 102,000 architects in the U.S” (Architects). “Median annual earnings of architects were $52,510 in 2000” (U.S Department of Labor). An architects average earnings are hard to determine, however, because they have gone up so quickly in the past years. In general though, “Earnings are generally higher in private practice than in public employment; earnings fall into the median of all professionals, i.e., below doctors and dentists and about the same as lawyers and accountants; and incomes over $100,000 are becoming more and more common, especially in large firms.” (Piper 9). Unfortunately, though, in 2000, “almost half of all architects worked more than forty hours a week, in contrast to about one in four workers in all occupations combined.” (U.S Department of Labor).
In order to become an architect, one must have a lot of education. For education, most architectural colleges look for three to