3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 23, 2013 10:16 AM by Brian Janus RSS

Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering, How Do I Decide?

Seandra Mitchell

The Admission Team is well into the second month of the 2014-2015 recruitment season.  As we travel to a variety of college fairs, high school visits and class room presentations, many students want to know, "What's the difference between Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering?"  And what can I do with a degree as an engineer in this field? So I'll send this question out to the experts, Ruth Spragins Jill Vande Boom Brian Janus and Neree Croteau.

  • Re: Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering, How Do I Decide?
    Jill Vande Boom

    Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering from my understanding is the design aspect. From the architecture side it is more the design side of how a building may look, for example the aesthetics and spatial details of a building.  The architects take part on designing the size, shape, space utilization and site requirements.  They view the overall objectives of the clients.

    While architectural engineers are responsible for the designing of the systems of the building.  This designs would include how strong beams and columns need to be (structural specialty), what mechanical systems can be placed in the building and calculating the loads for the building pertaining to the amount of heat and cooling that will be needed for the building to the plumbing systems and fire protection (mechanical specialty).  The final part of the engineering would be the communication and lighting of the building, setting up what wiring for all the outlets, lights, and anything else that would pertain to electrical needs (electrical specialty). 

  • Re: Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering, How Do I Decide?
    Ruth Spragins

    I completely agree with Jill's definition. To explain it in super layman's terms: Architecture is the design of a building. They make it look cool, pretty, *insert other adjective*, etc.. Architectural Engineering is making their design work. Architectural Engineers will make sure the building can support itself, will have enough lighting, keep the building cool/ warm, make sure all the plumbing goes to the correct pipe, etc. Architectural Engineers are typically the bridge from the Architect (or Company) to the Constructors.

  • Re: Architecture vs. Architectural Engineering, How Do I Decide?
    Brian Janus

    Jill is correct; in its simplest form, an Architect makes the building look appealing while the Architectural Engineer designs various systems within the building (HVAC, electrical, plumbing, structure, etc.) allowing it to function properly.