Why architecture students must write as well as draw

Ever since I can remember I have always been fond of describing what I see through writing.

Sketching at first almost seemed alien because we have keyboards and the alphabet, which we use every day to communicate, so why bother with drawing? It seemed that I had to learn some tricks of how we see in order to be able to translate this on to paper in this other format that I'm not familiar with.

For so long drawing was a form of communication for a creative person, and for me, it seemed that drawing was almost like a secret society, that I simply did not get. I was completely wrong about this, drawing becomes a key for those who have yet to find the doors of the words others have written to explain something. And that is when I realised it didn’t have to be so bizarre because there weren’t any real rules I had to follow unless I wanted to. It was at this point that I realised writing was the same. There were rules, if you followed them it would be easier for others to understand but if you didn’t, that wasn’t a problem either.

So why do we write essays when we can simply draw our ideas and our research?

Writing forces is different because we are doing what we usually do, speaking. Speaking on paper, I’d like to think. When you are spoken to, you are given pieces to someone else’s puzzle, and you try to build this image of what it is that they have created with their words.

Essays teach us about structure, we learn about this in the same we that we must learn how to walk properly before we can run. We can only build a puzzle if all the different pieces fit correctly, and that is why it is important for us to understand how to write, just as much as doing the act of writing. So maybe essays teach us more about structure than we assume.

Admittedly, it teaches us more than I had first thought. So to those who question the idea that we architecture students have to write essays, it is an essential part of expression, one that if we learn to master as we grow. It will give us clarity in the expression of visualisations that we do while drawing. If you asked me if there was a link to writing and architecture I would have found nothing to say of it but after these three years I learned that writing is a skill that simply enhances all the other skills and abilities you already have.

So yes, architecture students write essays and by far seeing what my peers research and develop, it is just as beautiful to read as it is to see a well developed drawing.

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