What is the difference between Architecture and Civil Engineering?


Are you in the first year in the University or in a high school and did not make up your mind on which engineering department you should choose between Architecture and CivilEngineering? Don't know the difference between Architecture and Civil Engineering?

Not anymore! We will let you know the differences as much as we can.

Let's start with Architecture. This department is for the people passionate about the design. People that are also passionate about the integration of the materials. Not only that, architecture nowadays involve sustainability, durability, value engineering and performance of each material.

Sustainability is about using sustainable materials that will have no impact to the environment. Or, as least to have the minimum impact to the environment. This includes, the air conditioning circulation where the design play a role in it.

Durability is about using durable materials that last longer. So, it potentially save the client some cash.

Value engineering is about reducing the costs of a design or system without impacting the design intent.

Performance of the materials is about how the materials perform within the design. An example, thermal bridging.

Positions vary for an Architect and solely depending on where the architect is working. If he is office based, then he is mostly working as design architect or as a senior architect.

An Architect is also found on site for detailing the design drawings and integrating the materials proposed into the design to ensure all are coordinated and constructible.

Deliverables are design drawings, however that depends on the stage of the project during the design. Projects normally start with a concept design and end with a detailed set of drawings handed to the contractor prior to construction and during the bidding stage.

Now let's talk about Civil Engineering which comes next after the design Architect has produced the detailed drawings. Not actually after, but during the design there will be a design engineer with a structural design background to work side by side with the architect.

Civil Engineering has also another department called Structural Engineering which is mainly meant for buildings such as; hospitals, high rise buildings, schools, villas, shopping malls, etc. Civil Engineering is for roads, bridges, infrastructure, tunnels, culverts, etc.

Definition varies from a country to another and from office to another. That does not really matter as long as the right expertise is in the right position.

Civil engineer delas with earth filling materials or foundations, asphalt, underground water, etc.

Structural engineer deals with steel, reinforcement steel, concrete, etc. Structural Engineer if works in the design department will be responsible for assuming the structural system to support the architect design and to make it stable. Based on the use of the structure, he will come up with the right structural system to withstand the vertical loads such as; live loads that represent humans, furniture etc.), dead loads that represent the self weight of the supporting structure. And horizontal loads such as; wind loads, seismic loads, etc.

That being said, both fields are interesting. However, I strongly recommend sitting with both who have graduated and working in the construction field for an advice. Prior to making your decision, this could help a lot.

Good luck in your studies.

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