In their 2012 book How Much is Enough? Robert and Edward Skidelsky try to explain why economics has become “the theology of our age.” They consider how other disciplines such as sociology, history and poetry have lost influence. In the case of philosophy, they say: “Philosophy was a powerful force in public life until the early twentieth century, when it retreated into linguistic hair-splitting.”
“If philosophers have lost influence through failing to communicate meaningfully with the wider world, then the same could be said of architects.”
Why am I telling you this? Because I believe that if philosophers have lost influence through failing to communicate meaningfully with the wider world, then the same could be said of architects. And, of course, much architectural thinking and theory is philosophical – encompassing at the very least aesthetics and ethics.
“Being able to write clearly, vividly, and with passion and conviction is an important way to connect with people.”
While visual communication is vital to architecture, verbal communication is essential too. Being able to write (and speak) clearly, vividly, and with passion and conviction is an important way to connect with people, win influence and make ethical and aesthetic arguments for design decisions that look beyond economics.
Writing well involves effort, practice and commitment, but there are lots of simple things you can do to make an immediate difference to the quality of your texts. I’ll explore these in future posts. Please get in touch if there are any particular topics you’d like me to cover.