Words mean stuff

For most people, when they think of an Architect, they likely conjure in their minds the cliche image of an old white guy dressed all in black with thick black plastic glasses hunched over a drafting table creating whimsical works of architectural art that no one will ever truly comprehend. And to be honest, they're not completely wrong. But that is a discussion for another time about diversity and inclusion within the profession.

What most people won't conjure within their mind's eye is a master of words. We think of architects as masters of line and form and light, or of brooding artists arrogantly screaming at laborers on a job site about how they're "RUINING MY GESTALT!" Again, not wrong. We might even think of architects as professionals but only for "those rich people". But we don't generally associate Architects or Architecture as requiring a familiarity, a comfort, an intimate knowledge, and even a mastery of WORDS.

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You see, and this may come as a surprise to a lot of people reading this, WORDS MEAN STUFF. It's shocking I know. A revolutionary and dangerous notion to think of words as having MEANING. But, trust me, it's true. Even in this hyper digital age where we think that whatever we put out into the world can just be deleted later on (spoiler alert - you really can't) it is important to think about the words we use. And because words mean stuff, Architects especially need to have a clear and profound understanding of the meaning of things, both written and delineated forms. 

Architects use images to convey meaning, this is true. But in order to bring those images to life we need to also use words. And the words we use are even more important than the images we create. Because without the WORDS to qualify the images we create, the execution of that creation will fail. And when it does people will get hurt or worse. Not to put too fine a point on it, but words, for Architects, can mean the difference between life and death. Cool, huh!?

Jeremiah RussellComment