Should I study Architecture or "Architectural Technology"?

Many of our BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology students find our course after initially wanting to be an Architect. Are you wondering what the difference is between where these two courses can take you? Allow us to break down the two pathways so you can work out which course is right for you.

Photograph of Architectural Technology students talking outside building

What’s the difference between Architecture and Architectural Technology?

Architecture is a broad area, but the simplest way to describe the profession is the process and art of designing buildings, open areas, communities, and other environments.

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), describes Architectural Technology as a profession “focusing on the design of buildings and their production and performance through the process, management and integral use of technology.” The discipline spans architecture, construction technology, building science and engineering, and is practiced by Architectural Technologists, Architects and Engineers.

For those who want to specialise in the technical and digital aspects of building design, Architectural Technology could be for you. An Architectural Technologist will still design different types of buildings, but the role is more directed and focused on the application of construction and digital technologies within the built environment. In addition, Architectural Technology has a strong focus on digital technologies in design and construction such as building information modelling (BIM) which has an ever-growing job market in the building sector.

How do I become an Architect or Architectural Technologist?

Becoming a fully accredited architect takes 7 years of study. Once you’ve completed your three-year undergraduate BA (RIBA Part 1) in Architecture, Landscape, or Interior Architecture, you will be invited to study the RIBA Part 2 and Three at Postgraduate level. All courses are offered at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

Becoming an Architectural technologist takes a shorter route to get to the professional world. It's necessary to receive an education in Architectural Technology, Construction Management or a related field at undergraduate level, and with experience you can work towards becoming a qualified Technician (TCIAT).

Who accredits Architects / Architectural Technologists?

Architects are accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board. An accredited Architect will be able to offer you ‘full services’, from concept design to detailed construction drawings and specifications.

Architectural Technologists have an alternative professional body the, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT). As a Chartered Architectural Technologist, MCIAT members can offer and deliver ‘the full range of architectural services’.

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