What Subjects Are Needed For Architecture

Architecture is a complex and multifaceted field of study which requires knowledge in a number of different subjects. It combines the art of designing and constructing structures with the ability to plan and manage them in order to provide a positive architectural experience. Structures such as residences, offices, schools, civic buildings, museums, stadiums, and even airports are all designed and built via an architect’s skill set. But to become an architect, there are a few things one must learn and understand in order to be successful.
What Subjects Are Needed For Architecture?

When it comes to architecture, a variety of skills are needed in order to create the finished product. For the design aspect, technical drawing, visual communication, and a deep knowledge of art history and contextual data about a given project or environment are all essential skills. Architecture requires a keen eye for detail and a complex understanding of how to make something aesthetically pleasing.

In addition to design, architects must also possess a thorough knowledge of geometry, physics, and mathematics. Mathematics such as calculus, trigonometry, and linear algebra are used to accurately map out the vision of the architect and are used to determine the viability of a design’s structure. Architecture also involves an in depth understanding of building codes, zoning requirements, and safety regulations.

Due to the level of complexity and precision needed, most architecture programs require a certain level of education. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree in related fields such as civil or structural engineering is required. In other instances, a master’s degree in architecture is a must. In either circumstance, the fact is simple: to become an architect, one must have an extensive knowledge in a variety of subjects such as design, mathematics, physics, and engineering.

Computational Design

In more recent times, some architects have turned to computational design as a means to speed up the process of creating intricate designs. Computational design, also known as ‘Generative Design’, is the practice of using computer simulations, algorithms, and computer-aided design (CAD) to create 3D models and architectural plans. This allows for complex and intricate designs to be made with ease. Such designs cannot be created by hand, allowing architects to create works that are more specific, aesthetic, and efficient.

Computational design also allows for increased efficiency, allowing for changes to be made quickly and accurately, thus saving time and money. Furthermore, computational design can also be used for simulation purposes, going a long way in ensuring that all aspects of the design are functionally sound, meeting all necessary regulations and standards.

Due to the complexity of computational design, a great deal of knowledge in computer science, coding, and programming is needed in order to wield such a tool. With that being said, knowledge in 3D modeling software, computer-aided design, and virtual reality is arguably just as valuable.

Mathematics and Music

Although not directly related to architecture, mathematics and music can both be beneficial to an architect’s career.

Mathematics is used in architecture as a way to make plans more efficient, however, there are also more subtle uses. Mathematics can help architects have an idea of structure in a building from their conceptualization of the design. As a result, mathematics can be used to bring order and accuracy to an architectural plan.

Likewise, musicianship can help architects understand the expressive potential of sound in a space and can help them create soundscapes. In addition, music can assist architects in understanding the concept of order, rhythm, proportion, and unity, all of which are crucial components in an architectural plan.  

Communication Skills

As an architect, it is of the utmost importance to be able to communicate and collaborate with other professionals. Such professionals include clients, contractors, engineers, and even other architects. Architects must be able to communicate their vision effectively across all departments in order to ensure that the desired results of a project are achieved. As a result, a mastery of verbal, written, and visual communication is essential.

Strong communication skills also allow architects to work with clients to develop a plan that meets their needs and budget. Architects must be confident in their abilities to explain why certain elements should be included in the design and why such elements are important to achieving the desired goals. Additionally, architects must be able to give accurate estimates and analysis in order to provide potential clients with a clear understanding of a project’s cost and timeline.

Business and Legal Skills

Architects are also responsible for the financial and legal management of a project. They have to be able to file all the necessary paperwork, create contracts, and invoices. Architects also have to understand the legal process of building in order to avoid potential legal issues and provide a safe environment for their staff and the end users of the building.

Not only do architects provide the services of design, but they must also be proficient in the business side of the operation. They must be able to set prices, manage financial accounts, and deal with possible legal issues that may arise during the course of the project. Architects must be able to provide their clients with the best service possible while still making a profit.

Resources Management

Architects must also be able to make use of the resources available. This means they must be able to evaluate the materials and elements available to them, and how best to use them in order to create the desired effect. This ability expands beyond the physical elements, but also includes time, money, and personnel resources. Architects have to be able to utilize the available resources in an efficient manner, in order to create the best outcome for the project.

In addition, architects must be able to apply the latest technologies to a project. For instance, the use of virtual reality or 3D printing can revolutionize a project. In order to use this technology effectively, architects must understand how to most effectively design for these new technologies.

An Understanding of Ecology

Lastly, architects must have a basic understanding of ecology. Architects are responsible for creating structures that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also beneficial to their environment. Architects must be able to design structures that use resources efficiently, attempt to reduce pollution, and create a safe and healthy environment. In order to accomplish this, architects should understand the biodiversity of the area, and how best to design for the environment.

Mentorship and Professional Experience

In addition to the above mentioned skills, aspiring architects must also seek out mentorship and professional experience in order to become an architect. Finding a mentor who is both knowledgeable and experienced in the field of architecture is incredibly important. This individual can provide insight into the profession and can help propel one’s career.

In addition to mentorship, gaining professional experience is key. Working on various projects and gaining hands-on experience can be essential to developing a successful career as an architect. This can include internships, apprenticeships, or even working in a firm. All of these experiences are essential in developing the skills needed to become a professional architect.


To conclude, architecture is a multifaceted field which requires a mastery of a variety of skills and an in-depth understanding of mathematics, art history, engineering, and physical sciences. Architects must also be proficient in business and legal matters as well as computational design and ecology. Furthermore, seeking out mentors and gaining professional experience is essential in launching a successful career in architecture.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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