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HOW TO BECOME AN ARCHITECT


Interested in architecture? This article provides a guide on how to become a professional architect in Malaysia.
 

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Architecture is the application of art and science in building. Not many people know that architects require professional qualifications, similar to doctors, engineers and accountants. Also, one must not confuse architecture with interior architecture, which is the internal design of a building for human use.
 
Responsibilities of an Architect
The main responsibilities of an architect is to design new buildings and refurbish existing ones. Architects also design structures such as bridges and dams, and are tasked with designing surrounding landscapes and spaces. They also act as advisors on the restoration and conservation of old buildings. Before they begin the design process, architects have to prepare proposals for their clients and present reports on the feasibility and practicality of their designs. Architects have to take into consideration the environmental impact of a particular building and provide solutions to problems that appear during construction. In addition, architects use specialised computer programmes to help with their designs and in project management. Architects have to ensure the design process of a building is completed within budgets and deadlines.
 
Academic Pathway
After finishing a suitable pre-university programme, students can enrol in a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture which takes approximately three years to complete. However, those with a degree in Architecture are not considered professional architects just yet. Graduates have to acquire six months of working experience and pursue a two-year Master’s in Architecture programme. Individuals with Master’s qualifications can register as a Graduate Architect with the Board of Architects Malaysia (BAM). To qualify as a professional architect, Graduate Architects have to pass the Professional Examination set by BAM which consists of oral and written tests. Graduate Architects must also have two years of working experience before taking the Professional Examination. Upon passing, individuals may apply to become a member of the Malaysian Institute of Architects. This membership is the key to being recognised as a professional architect, enabling individuals to register with BAM and receive the title of ‘Ar’.
 
Job Opportunities
The types of job opportunities in the architecture industry vary according to an individual’s qualifications. Those with a Diploma in Architecture may find work as a draught person, junior technical assistant or junior design assistant. Degree holders can work as architectural assistants, technical assistants, design assistants and site supervisors. The positions of project architect, design architect, resident architect and project manager are reserved for individuals with a Master’s Degree in Architecture. Professional architects have the opportunity to start their own architectural firm and create job opportunities for others. They can also go into academia and become a lecturer at higher education institutions.
 
Skills Needed
Architects must possess a good imagination and the ability to visualise ideas in three dimensions. They also must be skilled in drawing, designing and analytical thinking. Architects have to be fluent in IT and be familiar with computer-aided design programmes. Accuracy and attention to detail are essential when it comes to being an architect. Successful architects must have a passion for the built environment and have in-depth knowledge on construction. Furthermore, architects need to be organised individuals who have good communication skills, negotiation skills, leadership skills and teamwork skills.
 
The road to becoming a professional architect is long and difficult but rewarding to those who love design and turning ideas on paper into reality. There are currently 2,104 professional architects and 2,328 graduate architects in Malaysia.
 
For more information on becoming a professional architect in Malaysia, visit http://www.lam.gov.my
 

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