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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Traits you need to be a great architect

What makes a great architect? We take a look at the traits you need and the universities you can choose to start you on this interesting career path.

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Architecture is a fascinating field of study, as students learn what goes into designing and creating new buildings in the modern world. To succeed in this field, it will help to have certain qualities that will give you an edge over your competition. These characteristics and traits will benefit you from your first day at university to your career itself.


What is architecture?


Architecture is the science and art of designing and engineering buildings or large-scale structures. Someone who studies this field may be interested in both the sciences and arts. In fact, the admissions requirements for architecture degree programmes often include both an artistic ability and proficiency in mathematics. A career in architecture is rewarding both personally and financially, which is why it is a highly in-demand profession.




Traits that are good to have


There are certain personal characteristics that are necessary if you want to pursue a career in architecture. 




Being passionate about what you’re studying or working on is important in any field, but especially architecture. This industry is a mix of creative and mathematical, which means it can be quite difficult at times. Being passionate about what you’re doing can really help you get through this struggle and see results.


Easy going


In a field of work where designs can change and budget influences are key fundamentals, approaching a project with a calm and rational attitude is important. Being easy going is a great quality to have as an architect, because the nature of your work means that you will encounter stressful situations. The ability to take criticisms ensures that you stay focused on the project and see it to completion.



You’ll encounter clients who may not like your designs and who will criticise your work. In any job that involves personal preference and taste, you will be able to appeal to most, but not everyone. It’s essential that you don’t let criticisms and one person’s opinion of your work negatively affect you or get you down. Believe in yourself and the quality of work that you produce. Always portray your confidence in the way you work and communicate to facilitate interaction with clients and your project will end on a positive note.




Architects need to be ready to adapt their designs and workload when faced with unexpected issues or situations. All plans and projects are likely to change at any minute and at any stage, which means that the most successful architects have the ability to adapt to their changing environment quickly and efficiently. They ensure that any and all problems encountered are solved and the project can proceed. 




In the architecture industry, being creative and possessing the ability to look at things differently will go a long way in helping you get noticed and stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to challenge traditional values and present an alternative.




You will need to work well with your teammates and have the ability to communicate clearly and succinctly. In many creative industries, teamwork is vital for creating a well-rounded product or idea. Architecture is no exception to this, so working well in a team is very beneficial.




Once you’ve acquired the necessary experience, you’ll have the opportunity to lead your very own team on a project. Being a leader can be difficult  as on top of your own workload, you’ll need to ensure that everyone else stays on track to prevent any delays. The communication and team work skills that you’ve developed in your early days as an architect will certainly help. 




It doesn’t matter what stage of your architecture career you’re at, it is vital that you stay organised. There will be lots of things on your to-do list and this will get even longer the higher up the ladder you go. If you’re not a naturally organised person, it’s time to start cultivating that habit now. Invest in a notebook or download an app to help keep all the things that you need to do in order. Be consistent and it will turn into a natural habit before you know it.


What are the best places to study architecture?


Washington State University has a strong architecture programme that allows students plenty of opportunities to study abroad, with studio critiques and portfolio reviews held in Seattle to provide additional exposure to industry professionals.


Another great place to study is the University of Bath in the UK offering a number of highly-regarded architecture courses. This institution ranks first in the country according to the Complete University Guide’s 2022 league tables.


Think architecture might be right for you? Take a look at the courses available, all over the world, with our course matcher tool

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