Often the idea of conceptual presentation is sometimes an alien concept in itself. At times the expectations of what a concept is - and should be is different from what the architect or designer presents. At times a client may not follow a concept at all - so it is important for the designer to ask questions - open ended questions so that the clients can provide more detailed information. Focus on the benefits of the concept not the features. Use analogies to explain the concept. In all this communication is key. So how does one communicate to an architect and why must an architect read or write? In this week's MuseMATTERS we explore the need for architects to read and write besides drawing.
Communicating to Architects through books and periodicals.
Architects are visual learners. How do you make them read? Layout and typography play an important role in that regard.
Some ways to make an architect read and write are:
Appearance is critical. No matter what the content is – how it looks and how it is presented is important and therefore Structure is important. The thoughts need to be laid out and defined clearly.
A start (with a defined abstract)
The middle with headings, subheadings and justifications, lists and bullet points
How the letters look(the choice of font) all make a difference. Bold fonts are used for headings, subheadings and highlighting words. Reserve italicizing of fonts for captions, names of books and citations. Large clumps of italicized words for emphasis can be difficult to read and instead end up de-emphasizing words.
Reading and writing for communication to clients.
Architects are visual thinkers, they can imagine. Reading without showing helps stimulate the architect’s imagination to go beyond the archetypical thought process.Projects/ concepts and designs are about stories. These stories are about people and how people respond to situations and environments. Fiction/ Science fiction and non-fiction writing always describepeople’s experiences, the places and what it means to be human. Architects can learn about their clients or at least about the client’s perspectives, motives and reactions.
Secondly, reading and writing can stimulate the architect's understanding of the users of the projects they design for. It is important to read and not watch moving images or visuals. It is often attractive for architects to watch the movie and see how the scene (the space) is designed, rendered and or lit. This does not necessarily stimulate the imagination. Clients are not visual people in many cases – clients are more verbal. If you are able to describe it in words they might get a picture of it in their mind. Elaborate renderings and 3-D models do not always help. Descriptions and stories of the spatial experience for function and pleasure can at times have a far greater impact in selling an idea than a rendering.
Lastly, it will build the architect’s vocabulary to explain to the client what is important to the client about the design being done for them. Words are important - we need to learn to use them as it shall help in describing the reality (the experience) that does not exist as yet. Having said that we do realize that visual aids are necessary but it needs to be well balanced.
Muse MATTERS is a series of dialogues that as a studio we shall engage in– the purpose of the dialogues is for the studio to discuss matters, ask questions, share lessons learnt and maybe in the process we can make a difference. Topics discussed shall not be restricted to the field of architecture and design necessarily; they could be about an experience, a journey, a comic strip and anything in between or beyond. We will use this space to share our thoughts and blurbs.