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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Starting out

Interested in a career in architecture? Find out whether it suits you and where to start.

Are you suited to architecture?

The role of an architect is diverse, and so are the skills and personal qualities required. These include:

  • An ability to analyse and critically assess problems

  • An ability to see the big picture as well as to give attention to the smallest detail

  • An ability to communicate effectively

  • Imaginative and creative thinking skills

  • An understanding of human behaviours

  • An understanding of history, culture and environmental concerns

Through their professional education and work experience, architects will develop:

  • A practical and technical understanding of building materials and elements, structures, construction and services

  • Coordination and interpersonal skills to manage a complex project team of consultants

  • Negotiation skills to resolve complex building issues

  • Lateral thinking skills to solve complex problems

  • An ability to mediate and administer a building contract fairly


Secondary school subject choice

There are a number of secondary school subject areas that can give a good background to the study of architecture. These include: art, design, graphics, computer studies, environmental studies, history, geography, physics, mathematics, communications and technology. Students interested in a career in architecture are encouraged to develop broad interests in many areas.

We suggest you contact the individual architecture schools to check if there are any subject prerequisites before selecting your Year 11 subjects. The three certified architecture schools in Aotearoa are at the University of Auckland, Unitec, and Victoria University of Wellington.

The first step towards a career in architecture is the completion of Year 12, which will enable entry into a degree programme in architecture.


Sarosh Mulla

Paterson Architecture Collective

Architecture is a really challenging field to work in and I really enjoy that every day I do something different and get to work with a huge range of people. It can be stressful at times, but really creative and rewarding. The best architects enjoy solving problems.