8 Attributes of a Great Architect


by Tim Velazco, RA, NCARB


What makes a great architect?

Well, what makes a great spouse or a great best friend?  The answer to the question depends on YOU.  How familiar are you with the design process?  What type of building do you want to create?  Do you have a style in mind or are you looking for inspiration?  What size is the project?  There are many questions and corresponding characteristics that may influence your construct of what qualities make an architect great. 

Despite the fame and glory surrounding the portrayal of most cinematic architects as single designer with total control and responsibility for all aspects of a project, the reality is that most projects are delivered by a team of individuals with individual expertise and perspectives.  Using team-oriented project delivery is a process that benefits you by bringing together many experts with specializations to help you create the best building project possible.  So, the better question may be, what makes a great architectural team?

There are several qualities essential for orchestrating successful projects, and in my experience, those qualities include:



Of course, it is nearly impossible and certainly impractical for you to interview each member of a prospective design team to evaluate these essential qualities.  But because most design teams will afford a single point of contact - which is generally the architect’s project manager – you can focus your attention on evaluating the project managers qualities.  Broadly speaking, the project manager is responsible for creating the conditions necessary for success, including creating teams with the above qualities.  So finally, the best question might be, what makes a great project manager?  If you can select a project manager that is resourceful, foresighted, driven, collaborative, and a leader, then your chances of having a successful project just increased dramatically.