How to Become a Restoration Architect

If you want to become a restoration architect, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following describes you, then you're likely well-suited for this field:


• You have an interest in history, architecture and conservation 

• You have an understanding of architectural theory and design

• You have an understanding of structural engineering

• You are excited by the idea of facing frequent unforeseen challenges

• You are comfortable working in a lab, construction site or office setting


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a restoration architect. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed

A master’s degree in conservation architecture, historic preservation, or a subject related to building renovation, restoration and rehabilitation, or historical preservation and conservation, is typically the requirement for working in this field. Successfully completing coursework in one of these areas will ensure you've gained a sufficient understanding of the required background in architecture and design.


Graduate programs in these areas also typically give you the opportunity to pursue coursework in areas of interest or aspired specialization, such as history, project management, or preservation technologies.




Restoration Architect Job Description

Restoration architects are architectural professionals that specialize in the preservation and conservation of historic buildings and monuments; they must alter or restore these buildings and monuments in order to prevent their deterioration.


Restoration architects are an integral part of a restoration project from conception to completion, and they may work on projects of various size and scale.



Restoration Architect Job Duties

• Meet with clients or project managers to discuss the objectives and requirements of a project

• Prepare and present feasibility reports and design proposals to the client

• Provide client with advice concerning the practicality of the project

• Operate within budgetary and timeline restrictions

• Produce detailed drawings and specifications of the project

• Use computer aided design software to create renderings

• Specify the nature, cost and quality of materials needed

• Prepare tender documents for contract

• Negotiate with contractors and various other professionals



Experience Needed

It can be difficult to become a restoration architect without previous relevant work experience. It is common for restoration architects to enter the field after completing an internship program or working as part of a historic preservation crew.



Skills Needed

Being effective as a professional in this field will require you to posses a certain set of skills. These attributes will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and as a result they are often listed on relevant job postings.


• An understanding of architectural theory and design

• An understanding of structural engineering

• An understanding of the materials and methods used in North American cold climate construction

• An understanding of mechanical and electrical building systems 

• Proficient in computer-aided design and drafting

• Able to work independently as well as part of a restoration team

• Knowledge of local history, specifically as it relates to various project sites or buildings

• Able to effectively communicate with various team members and stakeholders

• People and project management skills



Helpful Personal Traits

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a restoration architect, you need to have certain personality traits. These personal attributes will help keep you interested in your job, and will help you maintain a positive attitude towards your job duties.


• An interest in history and architecture

• An interest in renovations

• Willingness to keep up to date with new restoration techniques and technologies

• An interest in adopting old buildings for new uses

• An interest in working with building owners, city officials, and other stakeholders

• Comfortable working in a lab, construction site or office setting

• Excited by the idea of taking on frequent unforeseen challenges 

• The intellectual and emotional stamina needed to complete graduate-level coursework




Typical Salary Level

The salary level of restoration architects can vary depending on their personal qualifications, whether they are self-employed or an employee of an architecture firm, and many other factors.


Restoration Architect Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Architects occupational group earn an average of between $26.72 and $56.77 per hour.


Restoration Architect Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Architects occupational group is $63,617 per year.


Restoration Architect Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Architects occupational group is $73,090 per year. The lowest 10% of salaries in this group are below $44,600, and the top 10% are above $118,230 per year.



Who Creates Jobs?

Restoration architects may be employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Private non-profit preservation and conservation groups

• Architectural and engineering consulting firms

• Provincial/state government historic preservation office

• Municipal preservation commissions

• Private building owners

• Federal government departments, such as The National Trust for Historic Preservation (U.S.)



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Restoration Architect, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Historic Preservationist

Real Estate Developer

Structural Engineer

Sustainable Housing Policy Associate





Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career in this field.


Occupations in Alberta: Architect.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 12, 2020.

Architecture and Engineering:Architects.” (November 5, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 12, 2020.

Programs:Architectural Conservation.” (n.d.). Carlton University - Graduate Admissions website. Retrieved January 12, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




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Relevant scholarships in the United States and Canada can be found on our Architecture Scholarships and Classical Studies Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to getting started in this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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