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An architect is a person skilled in the art of planning, designing and
constructing buildings. See Architecture. Architects are considered
professionals, along with doctors and lawyers. The most prestigious award a
living architect can receive is the Pritzker Prize.
Although architect is a specific term referring to a licensed professional,
the word is frequently used in a broader sense to define someone who brings
order to the built or unbuilt environment through rational and irrational
constructs using the tools of reason (for example, webmasters or designers
sometimes call themselves architects).
In many countries, architects are required to be licensed in order to
represent themselves as architects.
In the United States, architects are required to pass a series of exams and
pay a fee before they can be licensed. In addition, American architects must
have eight years of practical experience (which may include accredited
degrees in architecture) before they may become licensed.
The American Institute of Architects  is the U.S.A. professional
organization dedicated to offering a network of services to architects.
Architects who are members of this organization are permitted to use the
suffix AIA after their names. Although all members of the AIA are required
to be licensed architects, not all architects are members of the AIA.
In the United Kingdom, the term Architect is protected by Law, the latest
regulations being made under the Architects Act 1997. Apart from Architects
in the construction industry, the only other persons permitted to carry out
business using the term are naval architects landscape architects and
Construction industry architects (the subject of this article) must be
registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB external Link) in
order to practice, and who also have the power to suspend or revoke
registration. The ARB took over an expanded role from the now defunct
Architects Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK) as a result of
the 1997 law. In order to register, an Architect must be qualified in the UK
or an European Economic Area country.
The leading professional body for architects in the UK is the Royal
Institute of British Architects (RIBA) external link.