I want to know - what is the daily working life of a contemporary architect like? I do know a little about how architectural practices cross over into art and critical theory, and collectives who work in that way, and this is the sort of info that seems to turn up online. I'm less interested in that than I am in the daily life of people who actually make buildings happen. The RIBA website has been helpful, but again, it's not as 'on the ground' as I'd like.
1) What sort of hierarchies exist in an architectural firm? I'm thinking of a company that is not simply a meat-and-potatoes office block type developer, but who take on more visible or culturally sensitive work (without, you know, remodelling the World Trade Centre).
2) We're in London, today. My architect is in his early thirties and hasn't 'made it' yet in this company, but is obviously promising. What would he be earning?
3) Do trusted individual architects in a company take on an individual portfolio, or does everyone work collectively on different aspects of every project? I need my architect to have a role that is distinctive, somewhat creative and involves leadership, risk and vision- so he's not purely an administrator - but he's also in some ways quite small fry and by no means is anywhere near being 'comfortable'. Ideally, he would be leading on a small but visible and creatively interesting project. Is there a role that would allow this?
4) How much does ones standing depend on networking and sociability? Are there really average architects out there with great jobs just because they know how to kiss ass?
5) Some examples of what the bread and butter of the job would be on a daily basis. I imagine pitch meetings, politics, site visits, budget reviews, and lots of frowny moments looking at diagrams - but in between that, once the job is begun, what sort of daily tasks/skills would my architects have as his process, definitively as an actual architect? (hope that makes sense).
6) How does the architect relate to the site manager or whatever the name is for the person who leads the actual build. When would they meet? How often would they work together? Are there likely to be class/cultural/priority differences/mutual distrust? Why? etc
Any further anecdotes, snippets that can give me the look and feel and texture of this role would be brilliant. Fingers crossed this kind of role exists. And thank you for reading. :D