Architecture is the art of building. An architect draws and designs a building and then supervises on the construction site to make sure that everything comes out right. The term "architecture" is the translation of the Greek and Latin word for the art of building.
The Roman engineer Vitruvius called architecture the "mother of all arts". To him, it was more important than sculpture and painting. For him, the most important thing was that a building was stable, useful and beautiful. He found these three principles all equally important. So an architect must be able to do many things. He is a technician, an artist and a manager. He has to draw plans, calculate costs and negotiate with clients.
Only very few architects today work entirely for themselves. Mostly, one speaks of architectural offices. There, several people can exchange ideas and distribute the work. Usually, such firms also specialise in one subject, for example schools or hospitals. They are very different. And an architectural office that doesn't already have experience in a certain field hardly ever gets a big contract.
Architects often take part in competitions. For large building projects, they are asked to submit their plans. A jury decides which plan they think is the best. Then the winner gets the contract to carry out his or her plan.
Architects have to think carefully about what the building will be used for later on before the first design is drawn up. A new school needs more than just classrooms, toilets and a gymnasium. If it is to be an all-day school, he must plan rooms for eating, supervision and other recreation rooms. If it is a special school, he must plan for lifts and ramps for wheelchairs. A technical school needs laboratories and other special rooms.
Architects do not only plan buildings. There is also, for example, landscape architecture, i.e. the design of landscapes and green spaces. Interior architects design the interiors, which includes furniture, curtains and many other things.