Why is it important to read and write about architecture?

One of my history teachers during a lecture once asked how many of us architecture students had a subscription to an architecture journal, the result surprised him. We all knew what was coming – a look of disapproval and a quick ‘perk up your ideas’ comment. He suggested for Christmas we asked for a subscription to one of the top architectural magazines. A few weeks later I bit the bullet and used a proportion of my slowly diminishing student loan to subscribe to the Architects Journal (AJ). I can safely say this was one of the best investments I have made. It didn’t just provide me with a weekly magazine and free online content; it provided me with a community.

There is much value in architectural writing however; it can become an almost alien practice to students and architects. Many whom have become conditioned to communicating via images, sketches, diagrams and models. Discussing architecture is crucial; everyone is a critic to architecture, it opens up communication between industry professionals and everyone else. We currently have a relatively strong publishing community which benefits the industry by circulating news, providing a forum for debate and sharing information globally. It also creates high standards and encourages innovation within firms.

Reflection in architecture is about taking the time to look. To me it is becoming an ever more important process in my learning experience. There are many ways of getting involved in reflective practises for example: Keeping a Personal development record, a project diary and writing in your spare time through a blog etc. Sharing ideas is crucial within our creative industry in order to push our profession

Overall, I have found it fascinating to read articles from critics, and this has helped me to see how these sharp eyed experts analyse and draw conclusions from our built environment. Critical reading and critical writing ultimately results in critical thinking.

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