designspeak, archibabble, whatever you would like to call it


a conversation snippet about design with a non-design person:

John: design people always add some part that doesnt make senseand put a question mark next to itlike…curves -> planesplanes -> objectsobjects -> 4D??

strikingly insightful…

when i see concept boards for the beginning of some design project’s life cycle, they are littered with grand [and often completely disparate] ideas and manifesto-sounding categorizations of as some profound way of organizing those ideas.

i am certainly not excluded from this sometimes tiresome designsperson’s malady:

my original concept board for my exhibition space

my first concept board for an exhibition space in Rundetaarn (round tower in central copenhagen) - the second project for the interior architecture studio

look at all those ?? marks

look at all of those presumptuous ???? marks

yesterday, we had a gallery critique at school, where everyone walks around to different studios and presents/critiques each other’s projects. with over 100 students, all of the groupings and sessions were efficiently scheduled in such a meticulous manner [–a 3-page excel spreadsheet complete with a cross-reference numbering and partner system] that both impressed me and disoriented me, coming from the casual, homey 15-archies-per-year environment at MIT.

after significant exposure to aspiring architects, interior architects, and urban designers all afternoon, i noticed a distinct difference in the jargon of each species.

phrases that i heard multiple times throughout the course of the afternoon:

from the architect species: “articulate the spirit of the facade!”  “how can daylighting and the structural system INFORM the identity of the infill?!” [i.e. the constant rhetorical struggle to marry and justify frustrating technical restrictions with beautiful conceptual theories]

from interiors people: “curate full bodily experiences that heighten the senses with figurative expressions of movement and interactive involvement” [i.e. concept is God, forget anything structural and based in reality — because who wants to be bothered with that stuff anyway when we can just wallow in our sumptuously succulent abstractions]

from the urban designer camp: “the typology and morphology of the context should be directly influenced by ‘form follows cities’ and revitalized by the 12 crucial points of urban quality and consideration of the different speeds of life” [i.e. in love with their perceived ability to spontaneously generate community and love and green space and happiness from asphalt]


every monday, i eagerly anticipate the email update from michelle beaulieu and jon mayfield of the Architecture + Design department at DIS, so that i can savor and let the archibabble term of the week roll off of my tongue with joy.

week 1:  “Our archibabble term of the week is: emotional texture.”

week 2:  “The archibabble* term of the week is: streamline extensible rhizomes.**”

week 3: “The archibabble term of the week is: architectonic symbiosis.

(**Jon says, referencing rhizomes is still “quite hip.”)

if you are interested in learning more, do see jean’s entry on AJMPP, the fledgling Architecture Jargon Magnetic Poetry Project.

3 Responses to “designspeak, archibabble, whatever you would like to call it”

  1. 1 inmexico

    i always finding so easy and incredibly tempting to use words or graphics that makes no sense/irrelevant just because it looks or sounds cool….

    you should send me some arch words! i don’t think rhizomes has reached the states yet, but amjpp can be on top of the trend.

    everything sounds so eye opening and wonderful over there! we miss you over here. ps. i went to visit eegloo yesterday and she’s as fun and adorable as ever.

  2. I’m so glad you’re gaining other perspective outside of your MITers, it will most def affect / enhance your work =)

  3. 3 jon


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: