The Design Of Writing And The Writing Of Design

1813 words - 7 pages

No one will ever escape the necessity of writing. Even entering a career dealing with math and art – like architecture – does not mean that a person will not need writing skills. Writing is an important part of an architect’s job; it is used on a daily basis. An architect’s writing is a method of communication and can even be a kind of advertisement. An architect uses many forms of writing, such as emails, business letters, and published work, to communicate with the many people involved in a project and to keep track of everything that has to be done, as well as deadlines for these tasks and to whom each task is assigned.
Mr. Richard Johnson, an architect in the local firm The East Group, most often communicates through e-mails. Another form of writing that he frequently uses is minutes of meetings, which are used to keep track of what is discussed in the meetings. He says that he only occasionally writes more formal papers for “marketing or educational purposes”. He also uses Excel spreadsheets to keep track of information about the current projects (Johnson). The description or explanation of a project is another important kind of writing for architects (Weinstein). These descriptions help other participants in the project – clients, builders, contractors, etc. – to understand what the architect is planning and what they themselves will have to do. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s (RAIC) website lists an architect’s kinds of writing as the following: business letters, record(s) of “all aspects” of the project, charts and tables, “specifications” defining the building, and “articles for professional journals and magazines”. These parallel the writings that Johnson does, but are more formal and time consuming. E-mails are much more practical than business letters, as they take much less time to write and send. Thus, e-mails help to keep everyone involved with the project “in-the-loop” more efficiently than formal business letters.
E-mails are an important form of communication for architects because they allow architects to keep in touch with all the different people involved in the project, including the client, the contractor, the engineers, and other architects. Johnson calls e-mails “chains” between these people and says they are “the written record of agreements and understandings” about the project. E-mails are important in making and recording decisions about “the design, appearance, schedule, and cost of the project”. Minutes are summaries of what is discussed in meetings, as well as the “commitments” that are made and the “actions taken” in the meetings (Johnson). Lynn Gaertner-Johnston writes that minutes tell what decisions were made, what was achieved, and what is planned for the future. The following are usually included in meeting minutes: time & date of meeting, who did or did not attend (if important), subject(s) of discussion, decisions made, future actions planned & who is to do what and...

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