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Definition: architect from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

(1563) 1 : a person who designs buildings and advises in their construction 2 : a person who designs and guides a plan or undertaking 〈the ⁓ of American foreign policy〉


Summary Article: architect
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Person qualified to design buildings and to supervise their erection.

History, Europe In Greek and Roman times the architect's status was fully recognized, and his duties are described by Vitruvius. In the Middle Ages, however, the title was seldom used, the architect then being commonly called ‘master’ in English (or magister in Latin). It was revived in the 16th century and was used by Inigo Jones in the early 17th century.

The status of the architect became more definite during the 17th and 18th centuries. Although the usual method of entering the profession was still apprenticeship, individual academies had been founded in Italy during the Renaissance, and a most influential step, acknowledging the importance of the proper training of architects, came in 1671 with the foundation of the Royal Academy of Architecture in France by Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

UK qualifications In Britain, the foundation of the Royal Institute of British Architects, or RIBA, in 1837 established a precise standard of qualification. Candidates may enrol as student members of RIBA if they are bona fide students of architecture studying for a RIBA exam in Professional Practice or for an exam providing exemption from the RIBA exam. The designation FRIBA (fellow) and ARIBA (associate) are still used, but only by those who were members of the Institute before the present charter came into effect in 1971. It is now more common for members of the Institute to use the suffix RIBA, as there is now only one class of corporate membership.

The Architects Registration Council of the UK (established under the Architects (Registration) Acts 1931–38), states that no-one may practise under a style containing the word ‘architect’ until his/her name is listed on the Register of Architects maintained by the Architects Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK). For this he/she must pass professional exams recognized by the Council, or have obtained a qualification in architecture awarded outside the UK. Every applicant must, in addition, have passed a recognized exam in Professional and Practical Experience in the UK.

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