As someone who has worked in Architecture studios and as a freelance architectural designer as well, I can say there is a difference between them. While an architect working as an employee can focus on project-related things, as a freelance architect you need to put many different hats on. Let’s break it down.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For An Architect Working for a Studio?

I asked the same question three of my former colleagues. All of them are still working in the same studio we worked together. They lead projects, and have teams of 2-4 people, excluding external collaborators. I combined their answers to give you a list of activities in a typical day of an architect working for a studio:

  1. Morning Planning: The day starts with reviewing project timelines, milestones, and tasks. They might meet with the project team to discuss priorities for the day and allocate resources accordingly.

    Typically, this kind of team organization meetings take place weekly, and tasks are distributed on Mondays. However, daily there is still a need to re-align with the team members about what the priority is, what is urgent, and what can wait.
  2. Design Work: Depending on the project phase, the architect might spend time sketching ideas, creating digital models, or refining designs. This could involve both individual work and collaboration with other team members. Not all lead architects model. In the majority of cases, they hand out the sketches to the juniors or interns.
  3. Client Meetings: Architects often have meetings with clients to present design concepts, discuss feedback, and make decisions together. These meetings can range from informal check-ins to formal presentations.
  4. Coordination: Throughout the day, the architects coordinate with consultants, engineers, and contractors to ensure that design intent is being translated accurately and that project requirements are being met.

    While in some studios BIM is implemented actively, and the collaboration/coordination takes place in BIM environment, not all studios are ready for it.

    Sometimes, architects spend a lot of time managing the changes other engineers implement. It’s crucial to make sure that changes within by, let’s say, structural engineer, are reflected in the rest of the project.

    This is a lot of back and forth and takes quite some time.
  5. Project Management: Usually, within the company there is a project manager who does not need to be an architect. His/her responsibility is to Manage budgets, schedules, and resources. They may review project finances, track progress against timelines, and address any issues that arise.

    Project managers work closely with the lead architects to make sure that the time and resources are spent wisely and project deadlines are met.
  6. Team Collaboration: As I already said, architects within a studio do not generally work alone. They have teams.

    My former colleagues whom I interviewed mentioned that their typical day also includes activities like reviewing work produced by junior staff, and providing guidance and mentorship as needed.
  7. Site Visits: Depending on project needs, the architect might visit construction sites to oversee progress, address construction challenges, and ensure that the built environment aligns with the design vision.
  8. Documentation: Architects spend time preparing drawings, specifications, and other project documentation. This includes creating detailed construction drawings, writing project narratives, and compiling materials for permit submissions.
  9. Reflection and Planning: At the end of the day, the architect reflects on progress made and plans for the next steps. They might update project schedules, set goals for the following day, and address any outstanding issues or concerns.

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For An Architect Working as a Freelancer?

As I already mentioned, the life of a freelance architect looks different. I can only speak from my experience: I tried to freelance for a very short amount of time as an architect in Tbilisi, before moving to the Czech Republic.

I had to wear many different hats during the day. Part of the day is dedicated to work In the Business, and part of the day was dedicated to work On the Business. There is a difference. Let me explain.

The day is divided into two: creative work and administration/business development.

Both parts are crucial, and self-awareness is the key: you should maximize your creative output when you are the most productive, and dedicate the rest of the day to other tasks.

For example, I am the most creative in the morning and I tend to get a lot done when I work as soon as I open my eyes and get my coffee.

The rest of the day I would dedicate to other tasks.

Here is the breakdown:

  1. Project Work: As I already said, I spent a significant portion of their day working on design concepts, producing drawings, creating digital models or renderings, and developing presentations for clients. This creative work is the heart of our profession and it requires focus, dedication, and clean headspace.
  2. Client Communication: I had frequent communication with clients, whether through meetings, emails, or phone calls. I like to update the clients about the progress, or even if there is no progress.

    Frequent updates are perceived as “smaller wins” and improve the client experience with your service.

    Better client experience = more referrals = more work.
  3. Project Management: This involves creating project schedules, setting deadlines, tracking progress, and ensuring that deliverables are met on time and within budget.
  4. Business Development: Unlike architects in a studio, freelancers are responsible for finding their own clients and projects. A portion of their day is dedicated to networking, marketing their services, and seeking out new opportunities. This may involve attending industry events, reaching out to potential clients, or updating their portfolio and website, and nurturing their social media presence.
  5. Administrative Tasks: Freelancers handle administrative tasks such as invoicing, budgeting, and managing contracts. I needed to ensure that paperwork was organized and that payments were received promptly.
    By that time, I did not have systems in place. However, nowadays, as I am working already as a freelance web designer, I use Notion for client management. I use Dropbox for signing documents online, and Stripe for invoicing.
  6. Professional Development: Continuous learning and skill development are vital for freelance architects to stay competitive in the industry. They may dedicate time to attending workshops, online courses, or conferences to expand their knowledge and stay updated on trends and technologies.
  7. Financial Planning: Freelancers must also manage their finances effectively. This includes budgeting for expenses, setting aside funds for taxes, and planning for periods of low or fluctuating income.


Depending on their position or employment arrangement, the day of an architect can vary. In this post I tried to illustrate what the day looks like for an architect that works for another studio, and an architect that has a freelance business.

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