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A key skill of an Architect is to communicate ideas to clients, industry professionals and other project experts with specific terminology 'archi-speak', quick sketches, detailed drawings, physical models and digital technology imagery.. 

 

The information on this page will help to increase your vocabulary to speak like an architect. It's important, especially at university and presenting your project in crits, in front of lecturers, guest architects and fellow peers.  

There are 5 activities on this page to help you become fluent in Archi-speak.

1. Website links to 22 common architecture words

2. Play the Archi-speak game

3. Read how architects and journalists describe architecture

4. Create an Archi-speak word collection 

5. Use a combination of common words and Archi-speak to create your own descriptions of your own architecture.

6. At the end of this page is a Archi-speak example project called Your-Name-Cloud, a classroom student project.

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Play the Archi-speak game, either by yourself or with others. Learn the to describe architecture with these words.

 

Start with Archi-speak #1, research what each word means, do the same for #2, #3 and #4. 

 

Then, pick and read about architecture projects from New Zealand or around the world and practice describing the projects using as many specific architecture words as you can.  

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Practice your Archi-speak, describe this room using the following words.

Location, Environment, Layout, Form, Function, Space, Proportion, Axis, Symmetry, Volume, Detail, Verticality, Aesthetic, Juxtapose, Massing, Articulation, 

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FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS 1 - 10 CAREFULLY - READ EVERYTHING ON THIS PAGE FIRST BEFORE GOING THRU THE EXAMPLE PROCESS OF ARCHI-SPEAK

Try this activity to practice Archi-speak.

1. Go to the World architecture page and select 6 architectural projects from 2016-2022 that are inspirational to you.

 

2. Read how architects and journalists describe architecture of the projects you picked that feature on the architecture websites.

3. Create a Google or Word document. Add the project web link to and an image of each project for reference like my examples below.

 

4. Cut and paste sections of the text descriptions that appeal to you into the document for each project.

5. Yellow highlight parts of the text that sound like Archi-speak that are interesting to you.

6. Then follow the instructions in the Written Descriptions section below.  

Inspiration project #1

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The ‘living nature’ pavilion welcomes visitors into a series of rooms and familiar, playful areas that will be furnished according to different themes (the 4 seasons). They will be housed underneath a five-meter-high selective crystal membrane that dynamically filters the sun based on input from light-reactive sensors, while photovoltaic panels generate clean energy. It aims to explore the relationship between nature and living, while fostering new discussions about sustainable design. Visitors will be immersed in nature and experience the changes of the environment, the pavilion explores the relationship between cities and nature, specifically the technology that can be used to help improve this connection. In light of climate change and the threat it poses to cities worldwide, we need to devise strategies for climate remediation to improve living conditions in our cities, defining a closer alliance between the natural and artificial world.

Inspiration project #2

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MSG has released visuals of the first Sphere (music venue), planned for Las Vegas, which will have a capacity of 23,000, with 18,000 seats and a further 5,000 standing spaces. The arenas will feature an iconic design, and will be equipped with game-changing technologies that push the limits of connectivity, acoustics, video, and content distribution. 

Inspiration project #3

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Three glazed orbs are constructed from 620 tons of steel and supported on a thick concrete base. All three units share an open-plan indoor area that is filled with thousands of plants, which can be viewed from multiple vantage points. This particular design was chosen due to its natural occurrence in nature and as a nod to historic conservatories, like Kew Gardens. The facade's geometric pattern is derived from a shape found in nature, known as a Catalan solid. Studies suggest that spaces that embrace biophilic design can inspire creativity and even improve brain function. Our goal with The Spheres was to create a unique gathering place where employees could collaborate and innovate together, and where the Seattle community could gather to experience biodiversity in the centre of the city

Inspiration project #4

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Office, commercial, and residential buildings in Beijing. Baan’s images illustrate the scale of the development, which is set against the hazy backdrop so familiar to the city. We want to blur the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. Even with its soft, organic lines, and poetic silhouette, offer a very strong visual contrast to its surrounding urban setting. Inspired by traditional chinese landscape paintings, the design introduces a range of natural forms and spaces connected by a glazed atrium. The site’s asymmetrical twin tower office buildings sit at the base of the park’s lake and appear as two emerging mountain peaks. The small-scale, low-rise commercial buildings appear as eroded mountain rocks whose seemingly random positioning forms a secluded urban garden. The development’s overall environment is shaped by smooth, curved surfaces that seek to evoke the emotion and aesthetic resonance of a traditional chinese ink painting

Inspiration project #5

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Jean Verville has combined minimalism with theatrics in this dwelling for a musician, which features brass walls, raw concrete beams and an all-white bathroom sheathed in marble. Juggle "excesses and exuberance" with a minimalistic aesthetic, and to break the typical patterns of domesticity. In order to satisfy the needs of everyday life, but also to subtract them from time to time in order to create a working environment that strengthens the maestro's concentration, the bare space skillfully conceals functions in a succession of sculptural volumes,"a limited material palette to create a series of austere yet theatrical rooms that could be interpreted as art installations. Threaded through the apartment is floor-to-ceiling brass panelling, which serves as a dominant and unifying element. The gray tones of the raw materials unite into a volumetric entity pierced by an immense golden structure deploying to abolish the hierarchy of spaces. Offering images evolving towards abstraction, this golden ribbon, containing domestic functions as storage units, breaks up space into a single operation of powerful efficiency. The rich contrast between the concrete, the sumptuous golden brass and the immaculate brilliance of the white stones, creates a mineral character that encourages a feeling of opulence, intensified by the presence of a triumphant piano.

Inspiration project #6

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Residents can enjoy panoramic views over the Aegean Sea without giving up their privacy. Part of the building in the landscape and then create a large open-air living room in front. These will all be sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings. Major concerns were visibility and privacy. At first we were concerned with the concept of invisibility. We asked ourselves 'How can you make a building disappear? Our response was to mimic elements of the landscape. The visual effect of the mirroring of the pool in combination with the concept of invisibility brought to mind the visual phenomenon of the mirage, from which the project was named. 

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7. Follow these instructions carefully.

8. Cut and paste all the yellow highlighted words together into your document.

9. You have now created an Archi-speak word collection. These series of phrases now have no relationship to the projects they describe. They give you a resource to help you apply Archi-speak to describe your own project.

10. My Marc Cloud example project that follows shows how to combine common architecture words, Archi-speak game words and this word collection together to describe architecture like an architect.   

Word Collection. It aims to explore the relationship between nature and living, while fostering new discussions about sustainable design. Immersed in nature and experience the changes of the environment. Explores the relationship between cities and nature. Devise strategies for climate remediation to improve living conditions in our cities, defining a closer alliance between the natural and artificial world. Iconic design, and will be equipped with game-changing technologies that push the limits of connectivity, acoustics, video, and content distribution.  Design was chosen due to its natural occurrence in nature.  Facade's geometric pattern is derived from a shape found in nature, known as a Catalan solid.  Spaces that embrace biophilic design can inspire creativity and even improve brain function.  Create a unique gathering place where employees could collaborate and innovate together.  Blur the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. Its soft, organic lines, and poetic silhouette, offer a very strong visual contrast to its surrounding urban setting.  Asymmetrical twin tower office buildings sit at the base of the park’s lake and appear as two emerging mountain peaks. The small-scale, low-rise commercial buildings appear as eroded mountain rocks whose seemingly random positioning forms a secluded urban garden.  Shaped by smooth, curved surfaces that seek to evoke the emotion and aesthetic resonance of a traditional chinese ink painting. Minimalism with theatrics. Minimalistic aesthetic. Break the typical patterns of domesticity. Subtract them from time to time in order to create a working environment that strengthens the maestro's concentration. Bare space skillfully conceals functions in a succession of sculptural volumes, a limited material palette to create a series of austere yet theatrical rooms that could be interpreted as art installations. Dominant and unifying element.  Raw materials unite into a volumetric entity pierced by an immense golden structure deploying to abolish the hierarchy of spaces. Breaks up space into a single operation of powerful efficiency.  Encourages a feeling of opulence, intensified by the presence of a triumphant piano. Residents can enjoy panoramic views over the Aegean Sea without giving up their privacy. Rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings. Major concerns were visibility and privacy.  We asked ourselves 'How can you make a building disappear? Our response was to mimic elements of the landscape.  Concept of invisibility brought to mind the visual phenomenon of the mirage.

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Your-Name-Cloud is an example project that was a creative classroom student activity. Students designed their own cloud project and used 3D modelling and Photoshop to visualise their ideas. You could break the laws of weight physics because in the future there might be technology that can enable improbable designs like this to happen! 

 

This is the project brief information about my Marc Cloud example project design.  

Issue: Create a cloud for personal space for connecting to nature & enjoy music

Need: I live in the city, its exciting but there is not much grass to walk on & lots of people around. To connect with nature I like to go to the Domain or a nature reserve and walk barefoot on grass listening to music.

 

What: My cloud design is a “connect with nature music cloud”. I like shoes so the design will be like a giant shoe box with open ends to look at the view. A strip of grass to walk on and a Pohutakawa tree is a feature of my design. Massive speaker stacks suspended by drones provide loud music. 


Who: Me & people I invite who want to walk on grass, chill out, party & listen to music really loud.

Why: Walking on grass barefoot connects me with nature. Listening to music is cool but Earth is to noisy & people complain about other peoples loud noise. I like listening to music really loud but wearing headphones all the time will eventually make you go deaf.

 

Social environment: My cloud will have a large patch of grass to walk on & flying  drones that hold speakers in the air for surround sound. The design aesthetic is white & green with no other visual distractions except one large feature tree. 

Physical environment: My loud will look like a large rectangular shape with open ends and a 45 degree transparent cloud pattern which design references a flax kete bag, my connection to nature & new zealand.

Outcome: My final design represents my connection to nature with a futuristic cloud kite bag exterior design & an interior that features grass & a pohutakawa tree that allows me to connect with nature because my living situation does not. Hightec drones & speakers let me listen to music really loud without affecting other people. You can fly my cloud with a GPS map app so it can float wherever I want it to go and land to get on & off. It can hover just above the ocean so you can dive off it for a swim. 

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To describe my Marc Cloud project I have used a combination of common architectural words, Archi-speak game words and some of the phrases from the word collection that described inspirational architecture. 

  • The words that are not highlighted are my own words taken from my project brief information listed above.

  • The words highlighted in green & in caps are from the common architectural words & Archi-speak game words.

  • The words highlighted in yellow are from the word collection that described inspirational architecture.

Marc Cloud project Archi-speak description, 414 words.

 

The Marc Cloud project aims to explore the relationship between nature and music, while fostering new discussions about the CONTEXT of personal space, music & technology.

 

I was concerned with the concept of personal SPACE. I asked myself 'how can you connect nature' with music & technology? This iconic design will be equipped with future technologies that push the limits of weight physics within the FUNCTION of natural cloud forms.

 

The BESPOKE 45 degree ARTICULATION of the translucent cloud FACADE’S GEOMETEIC PATTERN is derived from a shape found in Kite bags made of flax plant, a native plant of New Zealand, that form the PLAN & ELEVATION exterior ENVELOPE of the Marc Cloud design. 

 

The RECTILINEAR shape of the Marc Cloud is inspired by the PROPORTION of a shoe box, it blurs the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. The soft organic lines and poetic silhouette of the Kite bag facade offer a very strong visual contrast to its surrounding atmospheric ENVIRONMENT, especially JUXTAPOSED against the blue sky. 

 

The interior MINIMALISM of the environment contrasts with the PROGRAM of grass, tree & flax MASSING within the Marc Cloud, it embraces the BALANCE of BIOMIMICRY design, a focus on the natural the world, which can inspire creativity and improve health and wellbeing. 

 

The grass strip and a Pohutakawa tree, seek to evoke the emotion and aesthetic resonance of the traditional New Zealand flora and fauna, the tree being a national symbol of the country. The SURFACE grass strip is symbolic of the UNIFORMITY of a Cricket pitch, the New Zealand national summer game, which ARTICULATES the AXIS of SYMMETRY within the Marc Cloud internal VOLUME.  

 

Drones suspend massive speakers that are REBATED within the Marc Cloud perimeter cloud formation which reinforces the CONFLUENCE of the audio sensations of music which is invisible but the physical presence of music is highly technical. 


The MINIMALIST  AESTHETIC of Marc Cloud breaks the typical patterns of personal space by skillfully ordering the functions of nature with a succession of sculptural elements. The limited material palette creates a dominant and unifying element and encourages a feeling of serene opulence, intensified by the presence of the tree framed by the geometric openness of the ends of Marc Cloud. Users of the Marc Cloud can enjoy panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean without giving up their privacy

 

Marc Cloud design symbolises the PROJECT BRIEF; a personal space for connecting to nature & enjoy music in a unique environment.

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Marc Cloud project Archi-speak description, 414 words - without highlights

Marc Cloud project Archi-speak description

 

The Marc Cloud project aims to explore the relationship between nature and music, while fostering new discussions about the context of personal space, music & technology.

 

I was concerned with the concept of personal space. I asked myself 'how can you connect nature' with music & technology? This iconic design will be equipped with future technologies that push the limits of weight physics within the function of natural cloud forms.

 

The bespoke 45 degree articulation of the translucent cloud facade's geometric pattern is derived from a shape found in Kite bags made of flax plant, a native plant of New Zealand, that form the plan and elevation exterior envelope of the Marc Cloud design. 

 

The rectilinear shape of the Marc Cloud is inspired by the proportion of a shoe box, it blurs the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. The soft organic lines and poetic silhouette of the Kite bag facade offer a very strong visual contrast to its surrounding atmospheric environment, especially juxtaposed against the blue sky. 

 

The interior minimalism of the environment contrasts with the program of grass, tree & flax classing massing within the Marc Cloud, it embraces the balance of biomimicry design, a focus on the natural the world, which can inspire creativity and improve health and wellbeing. 

 

The grass strip and a Pohutakawa tree, seek to evoke the emotion and aesthetic resonance of the traditional New Zealand flora and fauna, the tree being a national symbol of the country. The surface grass strip is symbolic of the uniformity of a Cricket pitch, the New Zealand national summer game, which articulates the axis of symmetry within the Marc Cloud internal volume.  

 

Drones suspend massive speakers that are rebated within the Marc Cloud perimeter cloud formation which reinforces the confluence of the audio sensations of music which is invisible but the physical presence of music is highly technical. 


The minimalist aesthetic of Marc Cloud breaks the typical patterns of personal space by skillfully ordering the functions of nature with a succession of sculptural elements. The limited material palette creates a dominant and unifying element and encourages a feeling of serene opulence, intensified by the presence of the tree framed by the geometric openness of the ends of Marc Cloud. Users of the Marc Cloud can enjoy panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean without giving up their privacy. 

 

The Marc Cloud design symbloises the project brief; a personal space for connecting to nature & enjoy music in a unique environment.

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