Ask the Architect – My First Real Question

For years I have offered to share my limited wisdom and expertise with you readers, but the response so far has been meager, to put it mildly. Ever since I started the Dynamic Family Home site back in May 2010 I have urged you to find me an intriguing question or two related to architecture, and finally; my First question from a Real Reader has arrived. It is quite thrilling!

Of course, once I finally got a challenge my pulse quickened and hands started sweating… What if I don´t know the answer!?! (Should have thought of that earlier..)

But enough small-talk, here is the question in question:
(sorry, couldn´t be helped)

Hello Connie,

I would like to ask you about the precise term to name the architect responsible to lead the whole building process (technical aspects, aesthetic aspects, urban and environmental aspects, etc.), in accordance to a project and contract. He has a huge fan of responsabilities and competences. He gives precise instructions for the properly understand the project, and he can also introduce any modification which he considers necessary for the proper development of the building process. All in all, he takes the necessary decissions for any possible problem arising during said process.

I need the correct term used because it is for a sales contract where said architect (in Spanish: “Arquitecto director de la obra) is mentioned. I have found Architecture Director and Architecture Manager as two possible translations for it, but I am not yet convinced.

I would be very pleased if you could answer me.

Thank you in advance.


Dear Blai!
Even though English is not my first language I believe I have a good answer for you. I agree with you that the translations you have found don´t quite do it.

Architect, as you may know, is not a protected title, and we meet the term in a lot of unsuitable settings if you ask me (which you just did)! The architect of … this seminar, computer program, report, spreadsheet, war, peace agreement, you name it, are examples of abuses of the term architect. An architect is by definition a person trained and licensed to plan, design, and oversee the construction of buildings (ref. Wikipedia).

If you refer to a person who spent 5 years (at least) studying building design in all its aspects then you would have to use the unambiguous title Master of Architecture.

But you, Blai, are looking for what to call “the leader of the pack” who after decades (probably) of hard work in the field of architecture gets the kind of responsibility you describe.

I believe the correct name for this person would be Chief Architect.

I hope this was helpful! If anyone disagrees or have a better term, feel free to leave a comment.


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