Architect vs Architectural Designer

Your about to start designing your dream home. Who should you use, and why? Let’s discuss – Architect vs Architectural Designer. 

We’ll start by broadly describing each, before summarising. 

The Architect

In everyday terms, Architects have been to university and studied architecture. This results in them having some form of degree. They then start working in one of the hundreds of design firms in New Zealand, giving them experience on projects. To be an ‘Architect’ you then need to be part of the NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects). This has an annual fee and once they’re fully signed up they can legally call themselves an ‘Architect’. Architects fees are usually a lot higher than an Architectural Designer as they hold a Title, and have been through years of university training. 

The Architectural Designer

Architectural Designers are often confused with Draftsmen, although the terms are flexible. Draftsmen usually just draw what you want, whereas Architectural Designers give specific design advice, more like an Architect. Architectural Designers may not have been to university and studied architecture, more often they’ve ended up in the design industry and throughout their career morph into a designer by default. Some are ex-builders with design flare. 



What you’ll often find is that Architectural Designers have a more practical streak, for two reasons. 1) They’re usually working with clients with a lower budget, therefore need to use practical, cost-saving detailing, whilst de-engineering the design. 2) They often have a building background, giving them a hands-on view of the design, so they can ‘think like a builder’. Yes, we’re asking for it when an Architect reads this paragraph!

Who Should You Use – And Why?

Each have their own strengths. Some Architectural Designers have just as much (if not more) flare, skill and style than some Architects. Therefore, think of it like this. If your budget is over $4,500/m2 for your build, consider going with an Architect, as you have the budget to actually create their amazing design ideas. If your budget is less, go with an Architectural Designer who can help you wisely spend your budget, whilst not charging you the earth.

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So What is Arcline?

A bit of both. We are primarily Architectural Designers but employ Architects when and if needed for certain projects. Our backbone is building. This means practical, common sense detailing and de-engineering your house design. It also means we can ‘speak builder’ with your builder when the house is being constructed and our details make sense for builders. Its like that saying – ‘if you want to sell to a farmer, use a farmer.’ 

Summary: Architect vs Architectural Designer 

We can only really share our opinion on the Architect vs Architectural Designer discussion. Depending on your budget, your project, location and style its really up to you to choose. Overall, Architectural Designers are the middle men between Architects and the Draftsman/ Bulk Home Builder companies. So choose wisely, and happy designing! 


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