Being an architect, in my eyes at least, is a wonderful thing. For the most part the people I work with on a daily basis are all very passionate about their respective jobs which equates to happy people…and everyone knows that dealing with happy people is a good thing. Dealing with passionate people is great because it means that you are dealing with people that care about the end result, which in the my case is a finished building. Most of the time architects deal with consultants such as structural engineers, civil engineers, MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing) engineers, LEED APs, interior designers, building officials from various jurisdictions, and contractors. The architect plays the role of “ring leader” where he/she has to know a little about a lot…meaning the architect doesn’t have to be a structural engineer, but he/she has to have the ability to speak intelligently about a set of structural plans. Same concept for interior design or any of the other disciplines. I always use the doctor analogy: a general practitioner doesn’t have to be a brain surgeon…but he has to know how to speak intelligently to a neurosurgeon.
On many occasions, architects work with a consultant that is highly specialized in a specific field. This happens when the typology calls for it. For example, if the architect is working on a concert hall, he/she will need to communicate with an acoustician. If the architect is working on a bar then there will have to be communication with a bar-specialist in terms of laying out the bar in the most space-efficient way in terms of specific pieces of equipment that the bar will need. While the architect would obviously know there would need to be a sink, a dishwasher, etc., chances are the architect wouldn’t know about the brand new draft beer pourer 2000 or the vodka shot 3.0 or whatever specialized new piece of bar equipment is out there. That is where the experts come in. This is one of the many reasons why the profession is so interesting: each job brings new knowledge…and as we all know, knowledge is cool.