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New Zealand Institute of Architects









What does an architect do?

The Christchurch Botanic garden Visitors Centre by Patterson Associates, winner of the inaugural John Scott Award for Public Architecture

Photo by Emma Smales


An architect’s work is driven by technical skill, practical understanding, analytical ability and creative flair. They work, with you, to help transform environments for the better.

Architects design a range of structures, including houses, apartment buildings, schools, libraries and commercial buildings.

Some architects are generalists, working across a range of projects of different types and scales, while others are specialists, designing for healthcare, education or the workplace.

Some architects specialise in heritage, others undertake work in the public realm, designing bridges or public transport networks and shared open spaces.

No matter where or what they work on, architects are concerned with the ways buildings integrate with the environment within which they sit.

An architect’s work is essentially driven by four fundamental elements: technical skill, practical understanding, analytical ability and creativity.

It is a skillset that goes beyond design and aesthetics. An architect is also a technical specialist, well-informed of new technology, skilled in problem solving and trained to undertake the administrative aspects of the building process.

Through design, architects influence the look and feel of our cities and towns and enrich the lives of users on a physical, psychological and emotional level.

By meeting the highest standards of practice, architects leave a positive legacy for future generations. In times of increasing pressure on the world’s resources, the role of the architect is more important than ever.

Architects can devise solutions that redefine the ways buildings and civic spaces fit into the public realm. Architects, catalysed by new technologies and innovations, and with social awareness and a strong sense of conviction, are ideally placed to improve the way we live in the future.

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