Difference Between Architect and Structural Engineer (With Table)

Every building, towering skyscraper, structure, bridge, construction site that we come across is built from a vision of an engineer. They not only build structures but create an environment. There are two main types of professionals involved in the creation of buildings – Architects and Structural engineers.

Architect vs Structural Engineer

The main difference between an architect and a structural engineer is that an architect advises and provides strategies about structural designs and plans the construction of the building while a structural engineer focuses on engineering calculations that will produce a safe structure.

Architect Engineer studies concepts like steel structures, concrete studies, structural analysis, building constructions, engineering mechanics, water resource engineering, geotechnical engineering, and other related subjects.

On the other hand, structural engineer studies about core concepts like structural analysis, decision and risk analysis, structural dynamics, probabilistic load and design, fundamentals of physics, electrical systems, architecture illumination, and other related subjects.

Comparison Table Between Architect And Structural Engineer

Parameters of Comparison Architect Engineer Structural Engineer
Minimum Education requirementsBachelor’s degree of architectureBachelor’s degree of civil engineering
License Separate license is given to every professional architect Separate license is not given and only a few states allow that
Focus Architects focus on the appearance of the building Structural engineers focus on the strength and durability of the building
Skills required Should have Vision for contemporary and modern designs and a mind to utilize space functionallyShould have problem-solving skills, exceptional leadership skills, and communication skills
Job Duty Discussing and communicating the idea of the project with the client work with construction managers to ensure proper execution, check building codes and monitor aesthetics of the site or structure is done by an architect-engineerInspection of building projects creating models of structures to determine safety, weight load, size, and other necessary approximation. Any problem in the design is solved and checked through codes by a structural engineer

Who is an Architect?

An architect is an individual whose job is to plan, design, and oversee the construction of buildings. The architect has been derived from the Latin word called architecture which meant chief builder. The major sectors which an architect usually controls are civil engineering, architecture, project management, construction, interior design, virtual arts, urban planning, and several other domains.

An architect can directly affect public safety. Hence every architect undergoes specialized training with an advanced level of education and practice to earn the license. Historically the architectural designs of ancient and medieval history were carved by craftsmen, artisans, masons, and carpenters which lead and paved the way for future architects. Architects have a unique vision that is communicated and explained to clients or construction contractors.

The title of most gifted and inventive architects from history is given to Filippo Brunelleschi. There are various prizes awarded to renowned architects for their achievements. Pritzker Prize is considered the most lucrative award that any architect can ever receive. Architects consider the functionality, economic, and safety aspects of every building and structure.

A common myth about architects is that they build buildings. They do not build buildings but they make designs and outline instructions to others about how to build the building. Architects are licensed professionals who developed the art and science of building design. Architects bring and develop contemporary concepts and structures to buildings. Right from the initial discussion about the project to designing, managing, engineering, and supervising the site, an architect does it all.

Who is a Structural Engineer?

A structural engineer is an individual who analyses is, plans, designs, and researches structural components and systems to achieve the safety and comfort of the users. A structural engineer not only works on the safety, economic and technical concerns of a project but also on aesthetic and social parameters. Structural engineering is a specialization within the domain of civil engineering.

Structural engineers do not have a special separate license and mostly practice as civil engineers but there are some states and countries which do offer a separate license for structural engineers. Places that design high-risk structures like hospitals, schools, or skyscrapers offer separate licenses to specialized structural engineers.

The most common projects built by a structural engineer are towers, buildings, stadia, bridges, space satellites, ships, oil rigs, aircraft, and many other such structures. The industries like construction, aerospace shipbuilding, automobile work in close cooperation with structural engineers. The safety of every building or structure and the resistance power against structural loads like gravity, rain, wind, earthquake, snow, pressure, the temperature is evaluated by a structural engineer.

Structural engineers usually complete a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and can opt for a master’s degree or specialization. The core subjects taught to a structural engineer are solid mechanics, material science, structural analysis, numerical analysis, and other such related concepts. There are a few universities that do provide separate structural engineering undergraduate degrees but is not a common phenomenon yet.

Main Differences Between Architect And Structural Engineer

  1. Architects focus on how the building would look from inside and outside while structural engineers focus on safety, skeletal, and stability aspects of the structure.
  2. Architects are responsible for material specifications, building designs, coordination with the client, and functionality of the building while structural engineers are responsible for mechanical and electrical systems of the building, water supply, fire suppression, sewerage system, and other technical aspects.
  3. Architects are concerned about the color, aesthetic, space, and materials used in the building while structural engineers are concerned with the ability of the building to withstand resistance from structural loads and forces.
  4. Architects usually work under architectural design firms while structural engineers usually work under project scheduling and management, structural calculations, and handling of manpower and equipment and other related fields.
  5. Architects cover specialization in the fields of construction while structural engineers cover specialization in fields of engineering.

Conclusion

Both architects and structural engineers are equipped with proper training, practice, and specialized education to perform their jobs. Both the professionals actively work on the budget of the project and can help in creating building plans for the site of construction.

The end goal of both professionals is to create a well-structured building. Buildings signify a part of the culture and represent the people living there. Both the professionals are responsible for bringing art beauty and creativity into our daily lives through their designs and work.

References

  1. https://lirias.kuleuven.be/1684201?limo=0
  2. https://search.informit.org/doi/abs/10.3316/informit.953777290334543
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