Message - Re: Plain English

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Posted by  John DeFazio on December 14, 2003 at 10:45:30:

In Reply to:  Plain English posted by Tedz on December 14, 2003 at 02:43:00:

Plain English & Architecture.

Interesting question. My first thought is, compared to Medicine and Law, architecture is fairly jargon free...

Like all jargon, it first starts out as a means to be more precise in meaning and identification of elements and systems of their related fields, in this case construction and its process. Architecture is a much older "art " than medicine and the Law, and its concepts are more tangible and often more easy to understand. Much of the language of architecture and building are folded right into common language. Just think often you here architectural element are used in metaphors... doorway to the mind, the eyes are windows to the soul, etc.

This reflects a familiarity with the meanings these words that it can be used and understood widely.

The language becomes denser, the more particulate the describing the element os assemblies, i.e.: flashing, drips, scuppers, vacuum break, plenum, etc., Again although not common, they are terms that one would find in dictionary or crossword puzzle. Obscure but not obtuse. In fact I find that my clients are intrigued rather than put off by the special names of elements building, similar to finding out that the two lines between your nose and upper lip do have a name (philtram, or the philtral ridges, the space in between, the sulcus ).

Jargon in architecture does occur in Architectural Theory which is constantly borrowing language from Philosophy, Science, Art Theory and Literary Theory. It is in these Academic forums that the densest jargon arises. This is, as it has always been, where academics that deal in concepts that are esoteric in nature, (and usually not very important outside the field). Although somewhat necessary to describe not so readily apparent ideas and concepts, there is a natural tendency, for professors to "show off" how smart they are, or just how intense their thinking is. (I know, I teach Architectural Theory). Architecture, as complex as it is and as difficult as it is to achieve, does not have to be difficult to understand. Architecture is a social Art form; it is for everybody.

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