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Yonatan Pick

What is the difference, as well as between an interior designer, an engineering technician, and an urban planner?

A number of professionals shape the environment we live in. These professions have developed as subspecialties over the years. Today, design and construction is not the responsibility of one person, but of a team of designers and builders. This post reviews the types of planners, their roles, training, and licensing.
In short, the architect designs the exterior and interior or collaborates with an interior designer. The architect coordinates the project with the engineer, who calculates the loads and designs the building structure. Engineering Technician studies are shorter.  (An Engineer usually has a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of engineering, while an Engineering Technician typically completes a certificate program from a governmental institute.) An urban planner is an architect with a master’s degree who usually works in the public service.


An architect designs the built environment – from an  architectural project to urban planning.
Usually the architect works according to a framework developed together with the client that is suitable for the needs of the users, and translates it into the design on a particular site.
The architect’s work combines several fields including: design and art, society and economy, culture and history, climate and environment, construction and engineering methods, laws and regulations.
The role of the architect is to lead the project team and coordinate with consultants and various professionals, including the building engineer and other designers (such as interior designer, landscape architect, etc.), building systems engineers (electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, elevators consultants, etc.) and consultants who specialize in safety standards and accessibility regulations.
The larger and more complex the project, the more designers with subspecialties are involved in its design, while in small projects the architect sometimes plays additional roles besides the design of the building, including the interior design and the planning of  the surrounding areas.
The architect’s role involves generating a range of work, including 2D drawings such as plans and sections, along with 3D models, simulations, and physical models of varying scales. These describe in detail the structure’s geometry, materials, and components. Based on these outputs, construction commences, with the architect closely overseeing the process at the construction site.

Study: Studying architecture in Israel takes 5 years to get a Bachelor of Architecture degree (B.Arch).
You can continue this study towards a master degree (M.Arch) and doctorate.
In Israel, you can get a bachelor’s degree in architecture at the following educational institutions: Haifa Technion, Jerusalem Bezalel, Tel Aviv University, WIZO Haifa, Ariel University.

Signature: Upon completion of bachelor’s studies, the architect can log in the register of engineers and architects and become a “registered” architect who is authorized to design and sign permit submissions for a simple building of up to 4 stories. After registration, an architect can begin an internship (practical work in an architectural firm) that lasts 3 years with an architect defined as a “trainer”. At the end of the internship, he can pass an examination, after which he receives an architect’s license (licensed architect) who is allowed to plan and sign any tall building or plan – TBA. (The preparation of The City Building Plan In Israel called TABA)

An architectural engineer studies for two to three years to obtain a certificate. Engineering studies focus more on the practical side, although courses on architectural history and design studio are also included.
An architectural engineer may design and sign off on a simple building of up to four floors.

Interior designer:

An interior designer plans the interiors of buildings. The field of interior design developed as a specialization from architecture. An interior designer focuses on finishing materials such as flooring, cladding, paints, furniture, carpentry, textiles, interior lighting, sanitary fittings, and electricity.

Studies: Interior design courses range from several weeks to months at various colleges (such as Ort, B6, and more),
Upon finishing a course, you receive a certificate. Bachelor’s degree programs in interior design typically last 3-4 years at colleges such as Shankar, the College of Management, and the Holon Institute of Technology.

Signature: In Israel, interior designers are not authorized to sign plans for permits.There are no licensing definitions or limitations for the field of interior design and its practice.


A building engineer (or constructor) is an engineer who specializes in building design. They focus on designing the structure, including columns, beams, floors, and walls. The constructor collaborates with architects to ensure that the structural design aligns with the architectural plan.
The design process considers various factors, including local conditions, structural establishment, stability, resistance to loads such as wind and earthquakes, weight and cost considerations, construction methods, and compliance with laws and regulations.
In collaboration with the architect and client, the building engineer selects construction methods and materials for the structure. The engineer also supervises the contractor’s work, visiting the site to ensure compliance with design specifications and providing guidance.
The engineer is responsible for the safety and stability of the structure.

Studies: Civil engineering studies typically take 4 years, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering (B.Sc.). In Israel, civil engineering programs are offered at universities and colleges such as the Technion in Haifa, Ben Gurion University, Ariel University, and Sami Shimon Academic College.

Signature: Similar to an architect, a building engineer who has completed their studies becomes a registered engineer. Initially, they can design simple buildings, usually up to four floors. After a period of specialization and examination, they receive a license allowing them to plan and supervise any type of building.
A building engineer undergoes two to three years of study to get a certificate, enabling them to sign and supervise construction for simple buildings.

City planner:

A city and regional planner works on planning towns, cities, and countryside areas. They bring together ideas from architecture, geography, and social sciences. Their job involves things like studying how land is used, looking after nature, figuring out transportation, and considering how the weather affects planning decisions.
A city planner gathers and assesses data about a specific area, then develops a comprehensive plan or policies aimed at improving the quality of life for residents and users of that area. Typically working with public bodies and committees ranging from local to national levels, these projects aim to address various community needs and priorities.

Studies: Urban planning studies represent a master’s degree program that attracts graduates from various backgrounds such as architecture, geography, landscape architecture, and other social science disciplines. These programs offer an interdisciplinary approach to urban development and community planning.
In Israel the educational institutions are the Technion in Haifa, the Hebrew University and more.
In second-degree studies in urban design, the emphasis is more on designing the physical environment itself in urban planning contexts.

Signature: City plans, including regional and national ones, are usually created by licensed architects, even if they don’t have a master’s degree in city planning. The role of City Engineer is also often filled by architects or licensed engineers. Many civil service workers and members of planning committees study urban planning to help with their work.

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