Architectural Engineer

Architectural engineers are in demand wherever buildings are being designed or constructed (Architectural Engineer/Career Opportunities 1). The building industry is the largest single sector of the U. S. economy; it expands with the continually expanding economy. As new technologies and materials evolve, the need for better skilled architectural engineers evolves. Greater complexity leads to increasing fields in specialization (Belcher 7-8). The tradition of an individual being the sole creator of a building was carried on by architects until the 19th century and the rise of industrialized ron.

When the technology for applying steel became too complex to add to a persons other knowledge about buildings, architects were forced to work alongside of steel experts, or civil engineers. A need became apparent for people whose sole professional focus was on the design of buildings, but whose education as engineers afforded them mastery of the technologies and materials involved in structural, mechanical, and electrical systems (Belcher 1).

Architectural engineering is a profession which focuses on the problem-solving techniques of the engineer toward the design and onstruction of a safe, economical building (Architectural Engineering/ General Information 1). The U. S. has about 65,000 licensed architects. Only a few are women, but the number is rising rapidly (Architecture Careers 634). The National Society of Architectural Engineers (NSAE) arose as the career became more important to American society. The NSAE is the professional society devoted to the promotion of, and the dissemination of information about, architectural engineering (Belcher 2).

High school students interested in becoming architects should take courses in art, history, foreign languages, mechanical drawing, social tudies, and especially mathematics. Students are also encouraged to take courses in computer science if such courses are available. In addition, students able to obtain a part-time job in an architects office can gain valuable experience (Architecture Careers634). The type of person who chooses architecture as a profession tends to be highly creative, curious, and inclined to propose global solutions to problems.

On the other hand, the type of person who chooses to be an engineer is usually pragmatic, unimaginative, and inclined to compile data to find the best solution. Architectural engineers combine both ways of hinking to learn which way of thinking should be used in certain situations on certain projects. Architectural engineering students take courses in the theory and practice of aesthetic design, and architectural history with architecture students. They also take courses in calculus, physics, and materials science with engineering students (Belcher 3).

The most difficult classes were those that involved mechanical and electrical engineering because they only touched on subjects that require years to master (Cox Personal Interview). There are several steps to becoming an architectural engineer. The irst step is to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from a university which is accredited with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (Belcher 2). A Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering can lead to work in private practice, or it can lead to working in concert with other professionals (Architectural Engineering/Career Opportunities 1).

There are about ninety colleges accredited for architecture in the U. S. Other universities only offer technical courses in architecture. A person holding only a technology degree is not eligible to become a registered architectural engineer Belcher 2). Most accredited schools offer a five-year program that leads to an undergraduate professional degree. Students with a bachelors can take a couple of additional years to earn a masters degree or do still further advanced work to earn a doctorate.

Most architectural schools stress practical design and the case method, in which the class solves architectural problems related to an actual building (Architecture Careers 634). The second step is to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam covering the principles of math and physics as they apply to engineering. The third step is to be an apprentice to a registered professional ngineer for four years. During this time, the engineer will teach the intern how to develop strategies for working in an office with other people. The internship lasts two to three years depending on the experience that the architect had in college.

The architect remains an intern until he can pass the exam (Cox Personal Interview). In many countries, one becomes an engineer simply by virtue or having graduated from an engineering curriculum at a university, polytechnic institute, or engineering college. Architectural Engineering is variously referred to as Building Engineering, Building Services Engineering, or other similar titles, depending on the country (Belcher 2). The fourth and final step is to pass the Professional Engineer Exam before the State will confer the title of Registered Professional Engineer (Belcher 2).

In Mississippi, an architect usually starts out making $20-30,000 a year (Cox Personal Interview). After the architectural engineer passes the states exam, he must decide whether he wants to work in a firm with other architects or alone. Most choose to work for a large firm where they specialize in a certain area of design (Belcher 3). If the architect chooses o start his own firm, he may choose his own hours as long as he keeps up with his work. I usually come in earlier than my employees so that I can get some work done without interruptions. I also like to come in on Saturdays to get a couple of extra hours in (Cox Personal Interview).

The architectural engineer who specializes in construction engineering/management is responsible for getting a building constructed on time, within budget, and with the appropriate level of quality. A structural expert works with the manager to determine what materials should be used in the structural elements of the building. He must decide which elements best fit the needs of a particular building based on the internal stresses that will be placed on the system because of loads, which are the forces which act on a building such as the weigh of people, building materials, snow, wind pressure, and earthquakes.

The architectural engineer who specializes in mechanical systems is interested in distributing fluids in the building. This includes plumbing, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning. The architectural engineer who becomes an expert in lighting and electrical systems is responsible for taking electrical power from the utilitys ines and distributing them to the buildings lights, motors, and power receptacles (Belcher 3-4). Some work for the government to design schools and office buildings (Architecture Careers 634), while others may decide to specialize in personal business buildings and local projects.

The best part of designing a building is seeing it in reality. It is very exciting to see something that you created in your mind to come into reality (Cox Personal Interview). In many projects in which the architectural engineer is involved, the prime professional is an architect. The prime professional is the person or irm who has the main design contract with the buildings owner (Belcher 5). No matter what the project is, the Architect will always work with another person or people (Cox Personal Interview).

The owner of a building selects the prime professional by reviewing qualifications of various firms, or by awarding the contract to the winner of a design competition (Belcher 5). Most large companies are using the contest method to pick the firm that they want to use. It works well because they get to pick from several choices before they have to decide who to use for their project. The other architects who put in hundreds of hours on their models and plans lose their time and money if they do not win (Cox Personal Interview).

There is not an overabundance of competition among Architects in Mississippi. The architects sometimes compete for contracts on large projects, but there is not much danger of hard feelings (Cox Personal Interview). The building industry is one of Americas largest industries, and consequently, the architectural engineer has a wide range of opportunities to work in many different areas of the country as well as in many various isciplines within construction and building design.

They are often in charge of renovating historic structures and monuments, and designing stadiums, schools, research laboratories, or skyscrapers (Architectural Engineer/Career Opportunities 1). Architects can also work in architecture related fields. These fields include city planning, future design, industrial design, and interior design. There is also an increasing demand for architects who can condition existing buildings of artistic or historical value, and for specialists in laws governing architectural preservation (Architecture Careers 634).

An architect never knows from day to day what type of project he will encounter next. Each presents a new challenge because no two projects are ever the same. Hundreds of hours are spent on a project depending on the size and complexity. For example, a science laboratory would take more time to design than would a regular house because of the extra facilities that the laboratory would require. There must be meetings between the different engineers that are assigned to the project, as well as meetings between the engineers and the owner of the new building.

Many people work in the office with the architect. The architect will usually sketch his ideas out on paper, but drafters and other employees help to put information into a computer using software such as AutoCad (Cox Personal Interview). Many people are choosing to build traditional, old fashioned homes. Cottages are often found in theme neighborhoods and along the ocean. They are built as condominiums in vacation towns because they offer a touch of comfort and style to make a relaxing home-away-from-home.

Decks and verandahs, sloping roofs, numerous French doors, and sheltered balconies offer elegance and comfort to escape from lifes stresses. In neighborhoods, cottages use windows and porches with pillars to make the houses warm and inviting. Picket fences and the proper landscaping can make an inexpensive cottage look like an expensive masterpiece. They often use solar-energy panels and sunrooms to add a modern touch (Cottages 7-8). Windows brighten up any room by pouring in sunshine and making a room seem larger. Sunlight enhances a positive outlook on life.

Architectural engineers often use solar power to cut down energy use. it can be used to run generators, or a room of windows can be installed to cut down lighting needs. Solar energy must be captured by proper insulation or it is inefficient. Sensitive design is required to harness the suns free energy. Solar energy can be used for as much as 75 to 90 per cent of a homes required energy. The energy is captured, stored, and distributed in various ways throughout the house(Home Plans for Solar Living 19). Where a person wants the sun to pour in and when must be considered when building a solar house.

For example, if a person wants a breakfast room to be sunny, then the kitchen should be facing the east. Many home plans wont accommodate solar rooms because of the direction hey are facing(Home Plans for Solar Living 17). The best way to observe how the many technologies with comprise architectural engineering are used is by examining a complex building project. The New Jersey State Aquarium is a good example of how a team of architectural engineers, working with architects and consultants in many specialized fields, collaborated to create a sophisticated environment.

It was the architects responsibility to design a place where children and adults could enjoy New Jersey waterlife in an educational environment. The program, or the list of the owners needs and desires which the rchitect must establish before designing a building, included various saltwater and freshwater tanks ranging in size from 25 to 800,000 gallons; five outdoor exhibit pools, and various simulated environments such as a seashore seal habitat and a northern New Jersey trout stream.

The program also called for a riverfront facade that would be both monumental yet inviting. A garden-like setting would accommodate outdoor exhibits and double queuing area for arriving summer crowds. In response to this program, the architect designed the attractive appearance of the building nd determined locations of various spaces within the building. The weight of the water was a challenge for the architects.

The consulting firm hired to design the structural system, Paulus, Sokolowski & Sartor of Warren, New Jersey, chose to drive deep piles to bedrock to provide a stable footing for the building system. The architects also had to figure in the weight of the animals and systems to keep the water the right temperature. A complex computer system was built by mechanical and electrical engineers to maintain environmental systems throughout the aquarium. Air for the human visitors was also a key aspect of the design of the aquarium.

Humidity was a potential problem in the areas above the sealife tanks. A system was designed that first exhausted humid air, then if necessary, replaced it with cooled and dehumidified air (Belcher 7-8). The job of an architect is never boring because of the different challenges that are encountered daily. He never knows what he will encounter and every day is different because no project is alike another. Some days may be slow because a project may be slow, but the excitement never lessens as he gets to see his creation come into reality.


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