Are Architects Artists or Engineers

Often I hear people say that architects are not different from artists; inferring that all we do is conceptualise and produce drawings. While other say architects are engineers because we engage in construction and site management.

These have led me to ask: “Who are architects?” and “Are architects artists or engineers or are they both?”

Let’s start by comparing architecture with automobile engineering. In automobile design and manufacture, there is a perceived division of labour among the automobile professionals.

The industrial designers handles and coordinates the artistic design, manufacture and performance of the car’s form and body. While the mechanical and electrical engineers handles and coordinates the design, manufacture and performance of the mechanical and electrical parts of the car.

However in building design and construction, the architect is mainly in charge of coordinating the entire activity from design conception to project handover.

This is why it is said that the architect is the leader of the building team.

To do this he requires some degree of knowledge in all professions in the building industry.

A little of engineering, cost estimating, surveying, project management etc in addition to his primary responsibility of being the architect.

Are Architects Engineers?

As we know, Architects are responsible for the planning, conceptualization, designs, project supervision and guarantying of building performance post construction.

Thus, his responsibility far exceeds that of an artist or an engineer as far as the built environment is concerned.

Even though architects can not be said to be engineers because of their training, work scope and duties, they often have overlapping responsibilities in the building industry.

This makes it easy to see architects as engineers. In some countries, the title ‘architect’ and ‘building engineer’ are synonymous.

Are Architects Artist?

Just like Art, architectural design involves creative or artistic expression.

Architects often are very concerned about the aesthetic aspects of their works and may sometimes prioritize conceptual concerns over functional ones just like the artist will do.

Also his form of presentation is graphical just like the artist which makes it easy to see architects as artists. Examples of renowned individuals who were both architects and artist are Michelangelo, Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, Demas Nwoko.

In conclusion…

we can therefore say that there is thin line between Art and Architecture because both require the expression and application of creativity to thrive.

Also, architecture and engineering because both involves the use of scientific and empirical evidence to design, build and maintain either a structure or a machines.

But this is not enough to conclude that Architecture is Engineering or Art and vice versa but rather architecture is a combination of both art and engineering.

Remember that by definition ‘architecture is the ART and SCIENCE of buildings and structures’

Cheers.