Architect vs Structural Engineer
It is common for people to be confused about differences between structural engineers and architects. Even when takes a look at the definition of a structural engineer, it looks remarkably similar to what an architect is and does. A structural engineer is responsible for the design of the building but this is exactly what an architect does. Then what is the real difference between the two?
In simplest of words, difference between an architect and a structural engineer is that of between an artist and a scientist. While an architect designs a house and ensures that it is aesthetically pleasing, a structural engineer has a one point focus and that is protection. Architect on the other hand is focused more on interior and exterior beauty of the structure. It is the job of a structural engineer to see that the building he is designing lasts for a long period and does not collapse causing any harm to the inhabitants. His main aim is longevity of the structure and prevention of injury to people in case of a mishap such as a natural disaster.
In other words, while architect is the director of a movie, structural engineer is the cinematographer who shoots the movie portraying director’s vision and image. It is common to see both structural engineer and an architect to work together and often there is a conflict in views of the two as when engineer cannot agree on a design as he feels it is unsafe from structural point of view. It is always better to be safe than attractive and this is why in any conflict between the two, it is invariably the structural engineer who prevails.
In conclusion, an architect designs what the building will finally look like while structural engineer designs the skeleton of the structure so that it does not fall down causing harm to the inhabitants.
Much of what a structural engineer does is in common with what an architect does but there are differences in focus
While an architect is more concerned with designing a structure that is aesthetically more pleasing, a structural engineer designs the skeleton of the building with a focus on safety primarily.