Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Pam. Pam Wonders, “what is the difference between an architect and an engineer” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Pam!

Do you live in a big city? If so, you may be used to all the hustle and bustle and tall buildings. Many of our Wonder Friends live in small towns or rural areas, though. Is that you? If so, you may find a trip to a large city quite the change of pace.

The number of people and amount of traffic in a large city can be surprising. It can also be hard to get used to all the tall skyscrapers. At first sight, these tall buildings may blow your mind.

Many people don’t think much about how buildings are made. Seeing skyscrapers might get them WONDERing, though. Exactly how would one go about building such an incredible structure?

Building a skyscraper requires the hard work of thousands of people. But a couple of jobs are especially important. Who are we talking about? Architects and engineers, of course!

Architects and engineers must work together to design and construct buildings. Many of their tasks overlap. Still, they’re separate roles. Each has their own unique skills and responsibilities.

What is an architect’s role in most projects? They often stick to designing buildings. They will usually work on the aesthetics of the building. That includes its appearance and function.

An engineer, on the other hand, will help put the architect’s plans into action. They will figure out what is physically possible and what materials will be used. They’ll also make decisions on issues of practicality and safety. They also often take part in building other things, like machines, roads, or bridges.

This doesn’t mean that either job ignores the other's goals, though. When designing a building, architects will keep practical considerations in mind. Likewise, an engineer will consider the aesthetics of the project when making decisions.

Architects and engineers also take different paths in school. During college, architects will take more art-related classes. Engineers will take more science, technology, and math classes. These different paths reflect the knowledge and skills each person brings to a project.

Would like to design buildings one day? Are you more interested in the aesthetics of a project? Or would you rather put the plans into action? Depending on your interests and talents, either job could be a good fit for you!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day features some bad weather that’s out of this world!