Design and architecture

Design, plan and manage buildings, interiors and landscapes for commercial, industrial, recreational or residential uses. Consider budgets, functional necessities and aesthetics.

The design and architecture industry includes careers associated with the process of planning, designing and constructing buildings and structures. They may design specifically for functional or artistic features according to requests made by clients. They should be aware of the style and methods of designing physical structures and spatial areas. One of the main tasks associated with these occupations lies in factoring all aspects of an areas or buildings location, budget, functional necessities and aesthetic aspirations to create a suitable design.

Architects and landscape architects design, plan and manage a wide variety of buildings and landscape areas for commercial, industrial, recreational or residential uses. They must have knowledge of spatial areas and uses as well as construction factors influencing layout and design. Architects typically work a Monday to Friday work week, but may be required to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines, work with clients or oversee construction progress. They mainly work in an office setting or workshop consulting with clients and designing drawings and graphic images of projects. They can also work in the field surveying land and overseeing work in their projects.

Additional careers in the design and architecture industry include draftspersons, urban planners and interior designers and decorators. Interior designers utilise interior space and organise it in a way that enriches living and work spaces for residential and commercial areas. They should have a solid understanding of space functions as well as the ways in which design and decoration enhance work efficiency or psychological well-being. Interior decorators work to plan and design the decor of offices, residences, hotels and other interior environments. They should have a thorough understanding of functionality and aesthetic features to determine decoration themes, colour schemes and materials and patterns used to decorate spaces.

Urban and regional planners design and implement plans and advice for urban and rural land use. They provide information for environmental, economic and social factors affecting land development. They must have knowledge of spatial areas and uses as well as construction factors influencing layout and design. They typically analyse a variety of factors influencing land use and advise authorities, designers and builders on proper uses and restrictions of the land.

No matter which area individuals work in the design and architecture field, most professionals enjoy designing and being creative with new designs for buildings and spaces. They should be critical and creative thinkers as well as have artistic and technical skills using computer programs to create digital designs. The career prospects for professionals in the field are high, especially for those with creative and artistic talents. Individuals hoping to start a career in design and architecture will require a bachelors degree in architecture or relevant study and benefit greatly from internships with firms while still in school. This can help students gain entry level positions upon graduation.

Professional associations and industry bodies

Architects Accreditation Council of Australia 

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute 

Australian Institute of Architects 

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) 

Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers 

Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors  

Design Institute of Australia  

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The Planning Institute of Australia

Skills and personality

  • Critical thinking abilities to determine feasibility of designs and requests
  • Effectively use a variety of hand and computer software tools to complete work
  • Enjoy working on designs and creating drawings or blueprints
  • High attention to detail including accuracy and precision of work
  • Present designs, plans and blueprints in a clear and effective manner for clients and personnel
  • Specialised knowledge of structural designs, measurements and building regulations
  • Strong analytical abilities to determine proper balance of functional and artistic designs
  • Strong oral communication skills to meet with and discuss design plans with clients
  • Visual and spatial creativity to envision possible architectural designs
  • Work as part of a team with other architects, draftspersons and designers