Understanding the basics of Architecture

To the person who isn’t trained as an architect, architecture can quickly appear complex or quite confusing. We’ve put together this quick guide on the basics of architecture to help you understand some of what’s going on around you.

Before we explain some of the aspects of architecture, we’ll help you understand what architecture actually is. Architecture is defined as the art of designing buildings and structures. An engineer and a team of contractors are typically responsible for erecting what an architect designs. Architecture begins with a client meeting full of ideas and doesn’t end until the finished product is standing proudly.

Back on track, we’ve complied a few terms that the standard architect will use when designing your project that you might come across. These are structural terms, used to describe various physical parts of the design:

  • Arch – this is a curved, symmetrical structure that is often used to support the weight of a wall, roof, or sometimes a bridge.

  • Column – this is an upright pillar that is often made from stone or concrete.

  • Trusses – these are a framework composed of struts, posts, and rafters.

  • Beam – this is a long, sturdy piece of wood or metal that typically spans across the ceiling of a room.

  • Domes – these are rounded, circular vaults that can form the ceiling.

  • Eaves – these are a part of the roof which forms the overhang.

  • Gables – the enclosed ends of a pitched roof.

There are, of course, many more terms used in architecture, but these ones above will help you understand some of the terms that your architect may use when describing the structure of a particular room in your new property, or even in a freestanding structure that you may be having created.

Other key terms you may come across while working with an architect are the following:

  • Space – this is the main area that an architect manipulates. It refers to the area that your project will be built in.
  • Concept/idea – self-explanatory, but a concept or idea is something that the project is built from.
  • Structure – this is a term used to describe how pieces of your project will be held up or held together.
  • User – any individual or group of people that intend to take advantage of or “use” the project’s functions once the project is complete.

The main techniques that an architect uses can vary from person to person. Typically, you’ll find that every architect has their own way of doing things, but they will change tactics depending on the preference of each architect.

Architects will start out with a brief, design from the preferences of the client, who will tell them what they’re looking for in this particular project. From there, rough draft sketches and designs will be drawn, which they will show the client during meetings that discuss the project’s progress so far. Once a design is settled on, an architect will complete the design using computer programs, and then a group of contractors and engineers will be called in to build the design with the architect overseeing the project.