67% of the South African population live in cities. Increasing urbanisation puts significant pressure on the demand for adequate and appropriate housing as well as the natural environment. Affordable housing and buildings that minimise environmental impact can change cities into inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable living and work spaces. Architecture involves the design of buildings and associated structures.

Architects design and advise on buildings as well as provide concepts, plans, specifications, and detailed drawings for construction. They negotiate with builders, estimate building costs, materials needed, and project time frames to build. Architects interested in sustainability can design buildings that conserve water and energy and include systems for improved waste management. They also undertake research and advise on the sourcing and procurement of more sustainable building materials.

Architects engage with builders, engineers, urban planners, interior designers, and other professionals involved in building projects. They mainly work in an office environment and could spend some time visiting building and construction sites.


Architects must have excellent spatial competence and understanding of architectural principles and design and knowledge of building regulations. They will additionally benefit from:

  • Excellent creative and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent planning and organisation competence
  • Extensive communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to use popular architecture and design software


Prepare project designs integrated with structural, mechanical and aesthetic elements

Write building specifications and contract documents for builders

Liaise and consult with clients and relevant stakeholders and specialists

Monitor construction or restoration projects to ensure compliance with quality standards and regulations


B.Arch.Stud., B.Arch.Stud. (Hons), M.Arch. at NMU, UCT, UFS, UJ, UKZN, UP and Wits

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Applied Science Architecture at UP

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Architectural Technology at DUT, NMU, TUT and UJ


National, provincial and local government.

Architectural firms.

Building contractor and construction companies.

Research institutions.

Related career paths