Powerful Geography




Main Topic: Physical Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview: Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures. Architects spend much of their time in offices, where they develop plans, meet with clients, and consult with engineers and other architects. They also visit construction sites to prepare initial drawings and review the progress of projects to ensure that clients’ objectives are met. Particularly, they meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures, give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time and prepare structure specifications. They also direct workers to prepare drawings and documents, prepare scale drawings using different hand held and computer software based tools and prepare contracts for building contractors. Apart from the drafting work, they also visit worksites to ensure that the construction adheres to architectural plans and market their work to get more work.

Architects need geographical skills for various reasons. First, geography is often a key determinant for shaping the design of a structure, building or a room. Climate and weather of a place also influences a structure, its design and what materials are used to build it. Likewise, physical attributes of the construction site such as the topography and other geographic features equally influence the decisions for the construction of the building. Likewise, natural disasters could be another major aspect that could determine the building project. Also, structural aspects such as the need for air conditioning, plumbing etc. also could be major factors in consideration while designing a building. Hence, having geographic knowledge helps architects pay attention to all the aforementioned elements. Second, social attributes of a place such as the culture, history and even religion tend to affect the building styles and designs which requires the architect to have knowledge about the cultural and social geography of the region. Third, they need geographic skills such as geographic information systems (GIS), modeling software, and other computer programs to analyze and predict their building decisions. Likewise, cartographic skills would help architects to draw and visualize their design plans. With use of these software, they will have a better understanding of not just the geographic features of the location but also the climate and other necessary variables of the location.

Geographers at work:  Physical geographers, human geographers, environmental geographers, G. I. Scientists

Recommended College Courses:  Physical geography, human geography, social geography, environmental geography, geographic information science, physical geography

Skills:  Socio-cultural analysis, mapping and modeling, cartography, geographic information systems, computer and database systems, spatial analysis, map reading and interpretation

Occupation Group: Architecture and Engineering

Learn more about Architects from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm#tab-1

Written by Binay Thapa


Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.
Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.