To begin answering this question I looked up ‘architect’ in the Merriam-Webster for a truly textbook answer.
1: a person who designs buidlings and advises in their construction
2: a person who designs and guides a plan or undertaking
The most obvious definition is ‘a person who designs buildings’ but what does that really mean? So what does it me to design a building? Designing is a process and a process that takes time, thought and problem-solving.
An architect asks questions, sees a larger picture or vision and guides the design along, interacting with everyone involved throughout the process.
Architects need to be problem solvers, each project being a mathematical equation of knowns, unknowns, and variables. We can help record what is known, determine what is unknown and define the possible variables better.
If an architect does his or her job well then the equation is solved creating a wonderful space or building experience for the end user. Design problems are the best kind of problem to solve with no one right answer, and with an architect on your team, it is not impossible.
An architect can also be a catalyst, taking all the different parts and pieces of the project and creating a wonderful final creation. We can help move the process along, provoking decisions to be made and collaborating with our client and consulting engineers.
Architects are conductors, channeling energy, connecting team members and directing everything. More commonly we are called project managers, being the lead for the job.