Do Civil Engineers need Architecture?

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Civil Engineering is subject which branches out to a number of sub disciplines and some of the traditional disciplines are building engineering, structural engineering, Highway engineering, geotechnical engineering and so on.

 Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction of buildings. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as work of art. But, the architecture can mean any type of physical or conceptual design including buildings and other civil engineering structures, furniture and even a system in Information Technology.

According to the above, architecture is a sub discipline of the civil engineering.  In most of the countries, architecture and the building engineering are considered as one subject or one discipline and implemented under one department.  Sometimes, the professional who practice this subject is designated as the architectural Engineer.

 When architecture is considered as the planning, designing and construction of buildings, the subject should included the provision of various services such as electricity, water supply, waste disposal, ventilation, air conditioning, communication & IT networks, landscaping and so on.  At the same time, several other aspects such as geotechnical engineering aspects, structural engineering aspects and environmental engineering aspects are also to be fulfilled.  For small scale projects, all these subjects are handled by the architects.  But, when it comes to be handled high rise buildings and many other complex buildings, each discipline is handled by engineers who specialized in each subject i.e.: Building service Engineers, Structural Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Environmental Engineers and so on.  In addition to Building service Engineers, sometimes, Electrical Engineers and Mechanical Engineers involve in handling supplying electricity, escalators & lifts, alternative power supplies etc.  Landscaping is handled by the Landscaping Engineers or Landscaping Architects.

 In some countries, Structural Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering aspects are excluded from the subject of architecture and handled separately.  But, all Structural Engineers, Geotechnical Engineers, Environmental Engineers, Building service Engineers should work together with the architectural Engineer or the Building Engineer towards the fulfillment of the requirements of the client or the person whom the building is to be owned or occupied.

 Therefore, identification of professionals of different disciplines is a matter of nomenclature adopted in different countries.  Sometimes, professional prefers to identify themselves under some category.  But, in most of the cases, the minimum qualification that a particular professional should acquire before recognize himself as a professional under a particular discipline are set down by the professional bodies like Institute of Civil Engineers , London and Institute of structural Engineers.  So, those professionals should take the membership of the particular professional body and each professional body has been recognized by the respective governments and set up according to the corresponding legislative enactments of the country.

 So, in today’s world, the use of architectural principles is not limited to buildings.  The human wishes to feel the scenic beauty and comfort in the environment wherever he is. That is why we experience scenic, beautiful and eye-catching highways, dams, bridges, towers and many other civil engineering structures everywhere in the world.

N. Wimalsiri
Freelance Writer
Consultant on Planning and Construction of Buildings and Roads
Consultant on Geotechnical Engineering matters

  1. Yasela Sumanasinghe says:

    I am of the view that both architect and the engineer has to work , hand in hand in order to meet the client’s needs

    An Architect is responsible for meeting the functionality of the building and engineers will take that challenge of providing what is an architect dreaming. An experienced architect generally knows the limitation of the engineering , and he do not do fancy designs which are not pragmatic and compromise the functionality of the structure.

    a Structural engineer works on the skeleton of building and make sure the adequacy of strength and the durability of the building.

    furthermore project managers make sure that buildings are built on time and wihtin the budget without compromising the qulity.

    The success of a project relies on how all these team members work together to achieve the final outcome. necessarily, there are inevitable compromisations to made by each party at some stage of the project and success remains how are these done as a team.

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