Mirror Magazine
19th December 1999

Front Page|
Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business|
Sports| Sports Plus|

The Sunday Times on the Web



Contents Index Page
Front Page
Sports Plus

Designing your own home

By Wathsala Mendis

Are you sensitive to built forms and spaces? Looking for an outlet to unleash the creative talents in you? How about something involving your intellectual, analytical, as well as creative skills? Does architecture sound like it?

The tasks and duties of an architect include meeting with clients to discuss their needs and desires, visiting the proposed building site, analyzing requirements and reviewing land use laws and other codes and regulations. They then prepare sketches of proposed layouts and present them to clients for approval or suggestions. Once given the greenlight for their design concept and budget, they proceed through design development to the construction and document stage.

These documents will include detailed drawings, specifications as in written instructions for contractors and contract documents. While planning building layouts, they have to keep in mind the space relationship of the interior, structural, electrical, and mechanical systems as well as the current code and regulations affecting site-planning. They have to meet frequently with their clients in order to evaluate designs and discuss concerns, offer advice concerning building sites, tenders and the selection of contractors, report on progress and costs, choose materials and colours, etc.

Areas of specialization for architects could vary from programming, design, building and construction technology, to cost estimating, or project management. This applies to both individual architects and architectural firms. Or they may become associated with the design of particular types of buildings such as residential (single or multi-family homes, high-rise apartments), commercial (offices, shopping malls), institutions (schools, hospitals) or historic/ heritage rehabilitation (restoration of old buildings).

An architect should essentially have a creative, imaginative self with the ability to visualize spatial relationships in three dimensions. They are good problem-solvers, self-motivated and organized while possessing excellent oral and written communication skills. The ability to pay attention to details to lead as well as to be a team player and to accept criticism are all part of the job.

Architects could be self-employed or work for government agencies such as the Urban Development Authority, State Engineering Corporation etc., or architectural, engineering and planning firms, commercial, industrial and institutional organizations or development and real estate companies.

As for the facilities available in Sri Lanka to study architecture, the Department of Architecture of the Moratuwa University offers a three-year B.Sc. degree in Built Environment and a two-year M.Sc. degree in Architecture. To qualify for the B.Sc. programme, you should have passed four subjects or three subjects with a mark of not less than 25% in the fourth subject in addition to having a pass in English at the G.C.E. (O/L) and a credit pass in Math at the O/L or a pass at the A/L. You are also expected to sit for an Aptitude Test held by the Faculty of Architecture. While these are full-time graduate courses, the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) also conducts courses in architecture catering to a wider range of candidates. The courses leading to SLIA Part I and Part II are both part-time with lectures and tutoring on three full days per week, namely Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The entry requirements for this seven-year programme are six subjects at the G.C.E. (O/L) with credit passes in English and Math plus three subects at the G.C.E. (A/L).

Though at times the pressure of deadlines and unexpected delays can be stressful, architecture is one field where job satisfaction is guaranteed. What could possibly be a better feeling than that of a job well done in ensuring the maximum comfort and protection of your clients?


More Mirror Magazine

Return to Mirror MagazineContents


Front Page| News/Comment| Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business| Sports| Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to

The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

Presented on the World Wide Web by Infomation Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

Hosted By LAcNet