A Discourse on Emerging Tectonic Visualization and the Effects of Materiality on Praxis
Or an essay on the ridiculous way architects talk.
Materiality: What buildings are made of. Sounds more impressive than bricks and sticks.
Potentiality, spatiality, conditionality, functionality, modernity: When in doubt, add "-ity." Or "-ology." "Ology" means the study of something, but in architecture methodology and typology just mean method and type.
Visualization or representation: Architectural sketches and drawings.
Instantiation: I had to look this one up. It means representing something by giving an example. A term borrowed from philosophy.
Emerging: Trends in architecture that are just around the corner—maybe.
Metamorphosis: Change, as in, "Metamorphosis of space is a flexible correspondence of space to its situation, caused by certain external actions."
Morphosis: The name of an architecture firm in Los Angeles.
Ennead: The name of an architecture firm in New York.
Oculus: The name of an architecture firm in Chongqing.
The Urban Dictionary defines Archispeak as: "Large, made-up words that architects and designers use to make themselves sound smarter than you (you being the client or the confused observer of design). It does nothing to inform or enlighten the consumer of architecture and mostly serves to numb them into obedience or self doubt." That sounds about right.
Witold Rybczynski is Slate's architecture critic His latest book is The Biography of a Building: How Robert Sainsbury and Norman Foster Built a Great Museum. Visit his Web site. Follow him on Twitter.
Photograph of building demolition from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/Wikipedia.