Architect vs. Engineer

When thinking of engineering and design, many question what the difference is between an engineer and an architect.  Here are some simple ways to remember where each profession’s strengths lie and how they can come together beautifully.

Brain Power

Put an architect and an engineer in a room with the same assignment in front of them and you will find them approaching the solution in different ways.  Engineers are generally very precise, math- and science-based, and quite left-brained.  An architect will look at the artistic side of the solution with creativity and a right-brained approach.


The architect will work primarily on the model and tone of a project.  An engineer will then look at the design theory to ensure it will work within the parameters of the project at hand.


Architects stay within a set budget and, in some cases, pick and choose from their creative ideas and plans. At the same time, the engineer will look at the choices made by the architect and evaluate the specifications to make sure they will succeed.


The architect and the engineer will work hand-in-hand on a project, for it takes both sets of skills for the finished project to meet the client’s specifications.

Math and Physics

This is the engineer’s area of expertise.  They must take the vision of the architect and put it in measureable terms.  The architect must keep this in mind when they are in the design process.


Both professions have to keep their skills up-to-date and pass the appropriate examinations to become and stay licensed.


Both the architect and the engineer may choose to go into particular specialties related to their field.  From commercial to residential structures, the architect can enhance their skills and expertise.  For engineers, their skills can be directed through civil, structural, environmental and chemical professions.

Sometimes the lines are blurred between the actual duties of the architect and engineer, but each role is critical to the success of a project.  At IES, our team of distinguished professionals work with architects from all over the country to help bring architectural visions to life.  It’s not just about the blueprints, but about the relationships we keep and the value we bring our clients.



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