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An architecture firm is a company which specializes in providing architectural services to clients. Such firms typically hire architects along with support staff who help the architects do their jobs, and they may be part of a larger company which handles many aspects of the design and construction process, from contracting to interior decorating. Small firms may include one or two architects working together, while big companies can hire hundreds or thousands of people, sometimes spread out across multiple offices.
Many firms have an underlying philosophy or mission statement which dictates the kinds of jobs that it takes. For example, a firm might focus on residential architecture, which involves the design of residences such as homes, or the company might be interested in industrial architecture such as that used for factories and other manufacturing facilities. Clients may also associate the firm with a specific style of architecture, such as Modern architecture, and some firms rely heavily on a noted architect who helms the company.
A typical architecture firm provides a range of design services, from drawing up plans for a remodel to providing ground-up design of a structure for a client. Architectural drawings can also be drafted for project proposals and community endeavors, to show members of the public or a company how a project would look if it was realized. In addition to drafting, an architecture firm can also build models and consult with contractors and other building professionals to accomplish projects.
Architects are critical members of the building team, because they are responsible for developing the fundamental design, look, and feel of a structure. In many regions, architectural drawings must be filed with permit applications, making the architect's services very necessary for people who want to do work legally. Architects can also be consulted over the course of a job as conditions change and adjustments need to be made to the original design.
Work at an architecture firm can be quite varied, although many employees develop their own areas of expertise, such as renovations, single family residences, or secured facilities. A spirit of cooperation is often vitally important, as architects need to work with lots of different people in the course of their work, and they must also be able to communicate clearly, and to easily interpret communications from other people. Lost information in the planning stages can result in costly mistakes, and a good architecture firm should be able to prevent such problems with a skilled team of employees.
@sunnySkys - I'm sorry your friend had such a bad experience. Don't let that affect your opinion of all architects though! My high school boyfriend's dad was an architect and he was a very nice man.
He actually worked for an architectural firm that specialized in residential architecture. I know he really enjoyed drawing up the plans for what was going to be someone’s future home.
A good friend of mine used to be a receptionist at an architecture firm. I believe she made around $14/hour, which is the going rate for receptionists where we live.
Unfortunately, she hated every minute of it! The receptionist job wasn't that difficult, but the people she worked for were total jerks. She ended up quitting after about six months of working there.
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