Designing The Future: Different Types of Architects

Portrait of female architect standing beside architecture drawings in office. Businesswoman standing in office with arms crossed.


Architects are professionals who are licensed to design and oversee the aesthetics of building structures. Most of us are aware that they are design experts but are unaware that there are actually many different types of specialisms within the diverse architect sector. 

Understanding the types of specialisms needed to complete a specific construction project is essential to determine whether the architect has the right skills to consult on the build effectively.

When it comes to identifying the different types of architects, licensed professionals are categorised based on the kinds of structures they most frequently design. Knowing which type of architect you need will be determined by the structure’s design and construction period. Here are six examples of different kinds of architects specialising in various sectors.


Commercial Architects

The field of commercial architecture is perhaps one of the most popular areas of study for new budding architects. They find it exhilarating to think that their high-rise building design will have a defining impact on a city’s skyline or be the next iconic tourist hot spot that millions will photograph.

A commercial architect specialises in designing building projects which include office towers, hotels, retail shops, hospitals, museums, public buildings, government centres, and other non-residential properties. These architects are specialists in designing structures that need to be functional and practical for numerous people whilst also being memorable or even inspirational.

The job of a commercial architect goes beyond having fantastic design skills – they need to have a comprehensive understanding of all up to date commercial building codes, safety regulations and the financials involved in the construction. Many will be backed by a business loan, so each cost element will need to be carefully itemised by the architect for sign off.


Residential Architects

In this time of cookie-cutter homes, many people consider residential architecture as a basic task. These vast housing developments tend to be designed and built with practicality and affordability in mind. However, some homeowners crave the unique and clever designs an architect can provide.

More and more people choose to stay put in their homes and make home improvements instead of moving. As a result, residential architects typically work with private clients and property developers to help create stylish and functional homes.    

Residential architects must be familiar with local building regulations and neighbourhood restrictions while adapting the design to these limitations. They also need to be creative at turning the client’s dream property into a reality while keeping it functional and within budget.


Industrial Architects

If functionality is the topmost priority, you will need an industrial architect. They have the knowledge and skill to create industrial buildings like factories, warehouses, storage buildings, distribution facilities, processing plants, power plants, transport hubs and terminals, plus much more.

Industrial architects are able to translate and integrate all the different aspects into a functional building design. They consider the processes, machinery, equipment, and other requirements when planning the build. The primary goal of an industrial architect is to be able to deliver a space that can help streamline the company’s operations while providing an ergonomic space for its users.


Sustainable and Green Design Architects

Both domestic and commercial buildings remain considerable contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, as more people are becoming environmentally aware, they are seeking ways to reduce the impact of their buildings, leading to a rise in demand for sustainable and green design architects.

Sustainable architects have the expertise to create environmental-friendly and energy-efficient buildings. They are highly knowledgeable in the most sustainable products and green building methods available on the market. In addition, these architects are skilled in applying innovative construction features and are creative in figuring out ways to integrate these innovations into both functional and visually appealing structures.

They must work closely with the construction industry supply chain to guarantee that the skilled and unskilled labour resources are local. They also ensure that all materials and components used are locally produced wherever possible. Using an architect that specialises in sustainability means they are more likely to present designs that work well within the natural environment and in a non-obtrusive way.


Conservation Architects

Unsurprisingly, the UK is home to some of the world’s most remarkable buildings. Like all other buildings, these historic structures need maintenance as they become worn down over time. Conservation architects are specialists in building conservation and in the restoration of protected and historic properties. They regularly work with listed buildings – such as castles, palaces, museums, ecclesiastical structures, and residential properties that hold historical interest.

Architects specialising in conservation will have an in-depth understanding of period properties which helps them effectively preserve the beauty and original craftsmanship of the historic buildings. They will also make sure the building encompasses the functionalities of contemporary living – such as central heating, modern plumbing and improved lighting. Conservation architects will also be well-informed of all the legislation and regulations involved when renovating or extending listed buildings.


Landscape Architects

Moving away from the indoors, landscape architects predominantly specialise in designing and developing outdoor spaces – such as public and private gardens, parks, lawns, orchards, squares, and building walkways. They also often get involved in other projects like resorts, golf courses and other recreational areas.

Landscape architects are also experts in horticulture as they are the people who help decide what types of plants, flowers, trees and other greenery will be used and where. They will base their decisions on factors like climate, property location, and what types of greenery will thrive in the desired environment.

There is now a massive demand for plantlife indoors too, which means landscape architects are now creating attractive internal green spaces. This has opened up a whole other area for their designs.


Closing Thoughts

Each area of specialisation will require the architects to have the relevant training, interests and career experience. Most architecture firms will only focus on one or two disciplines, so it is really important that the firm chosen for the project has the appropriate skill set.