A Lesson in Translating Archibabble

Much of the language used by globetrotting architects and academics to describe their projects and concepts is indecipherable to those not up to speed on biomorphology or french philosophy. BD offers a helpful guide for speaking architect.

"There is an apocryphal story, popular among architectural students, that upon leaving a Rem Koolhaas lecture, an attendee was asked by a colleague what the lecture had been about. 'I have absolutely no idea,' they replied. 'Either I’m stupid, or that guy’s a genius.'"

"This anecdote indicates a prevailing perception that much of the language that architects use is utterly unintelligible to the uninitiated layperson and even, as the story illustrates, to many in our own profession," explains Ike Ijeh. "But as it’s Christmas, Building has decided to celebrate rather than mourn this fact and has compiled some of the more entertaining examples of architectural linguistic contortionism for your delectation."

Ijeh and Lee Monks attempt to translate the archibabble of Jean Nouvel, Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid and others. 

Monks, of the Plain English Campaign, ends with this appeal: "So, going forward … we need to go backwards. We need to stop showing off. Language is bigger than us, and communication - not self-promotion - is what it should be for."

Full Story: How to speak architect


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