ALBERTO ALONSO Coderch
1

In 2019 Facebook had 2,320 million users, according to STATISTA.

2

The same thing has happened with other social networks, although for one reason or another some of them didn’t last very long or were absorbed by others.

3

Definition 2 in the Cambridge English Dictionary: To talk about your thoughts and feelings, and help other people to understand them.

4

That doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t improve and keep training ourselves to perform this task better.

5

The talks were given by journalist and art historian Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, from her blog “Del tirador a la ciudad” in El País; Santiago de Molina, doctor in Architecture, who has been running his blog “Múltiples estrategias de arquitectura” for over 10 years; and Anna Devís (@Anniset) and Daniel Rueda (@DrCuerda), two architects and photographers who have had a great impact on Instagram. The moderators were Agieszka Stepien and Lorenzo Barnó (Stepienybarno), architects mainly interested in projects related to communication and digital identity in architecture.

6

Are there any media outlets left today that aren’t digital or hybrid?

7

In this regard, there’s no difference with traditional media.

8

“Content is King” is the title of an article published by Bill Gates in 1996.

Communicating Architecture

I’ve been using the social media–or at least the oldest platform I use–for 10 years now. Just a decade. Hardly any time at all. Something that first developed as a new way for American university students to share everyday experiences has now become one of the most widely used1 instruments of communication2.

The profuse events of these ten years have marked and altered the way we communicate, a verb which in its own definition3 encompasses much more than what you might think at first.

“To talk about your thoughts and feelings, and help other people to understand them”.

So, all this time architects have been making an effort to talk to society about the world in which they work, study and carry out research. It’s an effort that’s had mixed results, possibly due to inexperience, the channels used, etc. But although these factors have become less of an obstacle over time, we still seem to be burdened by the mantra that

“architects can’t communicate”4.

Architects generally tend to be very (self) critical, perhaps even excessively demanding in comparison with other professionals whose work has the same, or a greater, impact on society.

In an attempt to improve in this respect, an event was organized called Vasos Comunicantes (Vessels of Communication). It featured three talks5, each of which illustrated the corresponding speakers’ skill and approach when communicating architecture.

Although seemingly different, all three formed part of the current ecosystem of architecture-related media6 and clearly shared common roots centred on certain inherited principles7 such as content, language and credibility.

Given the speed with which some tools fleetingly appear and then vanish again, today we might well also include constancy as a virtue.

We’ve all seen the expression “content is king” at some time8. Despite being one of the most widely used slogans in marketing, it’s not so far off the truth. Information is the most important thing, but not just any information: it must (or should) be quality information, or at least of the highest quality the communicator is capable of offering.

And as in all acts of communication, we have to take into account the receiver. It’s vital to know how to express yourself so that the information reaches its target efficiently. That means placing ourselves at the same level as our audience (that’s not to say trivialising or reducing the quality of the message), and it’s there where language plays a key role. This virtue is more important than the platform used, because the platforms we use today might be different ones tomorrow (remember Fotolog, Tuenti, Vine and, more recently, Google+).

“The biggest virtue of Internet is also its worst defect.” Anatxu Zabalbeascoa

So, how do you select or prioritise with so much content to choose from? By turning to those channels with the highest degree of credibility9.

While the principles mentioned so far are nothing new, in architecture we should also add time–one of the great building materials and a true “witness to history”. “Even though it may somehow clash with the high-speed world in which we live”, a slow process of maturation is very important because it will filter many of the passing trends that so often accompany architectural thought.

But perhaps the first big question is

What should we communicate in architecture?

In the meantime, let’s just communicate as best as we can.


Cover image: Recordando a Coderch (Remembering Coderch) | Source: Arquitectura entre d’altres solucions blog, Jaume Prat
Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

In 2019 Facebook had 2,320 million users, according to STATISTA.

2

The same thing has happened with other social networks, although for one reason or another some of them didn’t last very long or were absorbed by others.

3

Definition 2 in the Cambridge English Dictionary: To talk about your thoughts and feelings, and help other people to understand them.

4

That doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t improve and keep training ourselves to perform this task better.

5

The talks were given by journalist and art historian Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, from her blog “Del tirador a la ciudad” in El País; Santiago de Molina, doctor in Architecture, who has been running his blog “Múltiples estrategias de arquitectura” for over 10 years; and Anna Devís (@Anniset) and Daniel Rueda (@DrCuerda), two architects and photographers who have had a great impact on Instagram. The moderators were Agieszka Stepien and Lorenzo Barnó (Stepienybarno), architects mainly interested in projects related to communication and digital identity in architecture.

6

Are there any media outlets left today that aren’t digital or hybrid?

7

In this regard, there’s no difference with traditional media.

8

“Content is King” is the title of an article published by Bill Gates in 1996.

Autor:
Arquitecto autónomo y no colegiado (@AAlonsoOro), que compagina la labor de editor en veredes, arquitectura y divulgación (@veredes) con las tradicionales de arquitectura. En 2019, lanza VAD. veredes, arquitectura y divulgación es una revista científica internacional de periodicidad semestral y formato digital y físico que pretende ser un canal de difusión de trabajos y reflexiones centrados en la cultura, la teoría y el proyecto de arquitectura.

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