*This is a five-part course. Attendees must purchase the entirety of the course to attend the sessions.*
Effective writing helps architects and designers win new projects. It’s essential for communicating the value of your work to the public, the media, and your peers, and for making change in your community. Learn how to sharpen your writing with design journalist and author Gideon Fink Shapiro, an experienced professional writer and editorial consultant. As a component of business and professional development, this course can help you strengthen your project descriptions, bios, new business proposals, award submissions, competition entries, press releases, job and fellowship applications, marketing copy, and books.
The course is organized as a series of synchronous video lectures interspersed with participatory group exercises. Each session will offer strategies and ideas for addressing writing and editing challenges that architects, designers, and marketing/bizdev teams frequently encounter. A total of AIA CES: 5.0 LUs will be awarded upon completion of the course.
About the Instructor
Gideon Fink Shapiro, Ph.D., writes about architecture, landscape, and design. As both an independent author and an editorial consultant, he is passionate about communicating design ideas through clear and lively writing. His articles and essays have been published in Architect, Domus, Next City, Places, The Architects Newspaper, The Avery Review, and other media outlets. He collaborated with Robert A.M. Stern to write The New Residential Colleges at Yale: A Conversation Across Time (Monacelli, 2018) and he co-authored, with Aaron Betsky, the forthcoming 50 Lessons to Learn from Frank Lloyd Wright (Rizzoli, 2021). He edited Re-Living the City (Actar, 2016) and the Domus Architecture Guide mobile app for New York (2010). He is currently completing a book on Adolphe Alphand and public park design in Paris. Gideon has lectured widely and collaborated with design firms in New York and beyond.
SESSION 1: How to Begin
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, 4:00 pm EST
Don’t be afraid of the blank page or screen. Your writing project has a site and a program, just like your designs. Ask yourself three questions as you begin. Additionally, find out how to structure your writing in a modular way so that you’re ready to provide a short blurb, a website text, and a full-length press release or award submission text as needed.
SESSION 2: Activate Your Prose
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, 4:00 pm EST
Verbs propel and structure your writing. Too often they are placed in a passive, inert position, or papered over by excessive modifiers. Cut the jargon and engage your reader with active and specific verbs that bring your designs to life. Whether you’re writing a manifesto or a simple project narrative, leverage the power of verbs to invigorate your message.
SESSION 3: Writing on Architecture Beyond Building – with guest speaker Aaron Betsky
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, 4:00 pm EST
Architecture is about more than buildings. Reconnect with the strangeness, the beauty, and the dreams of a better world that fuel great design. Guest speaker and prolific author Aaron Betsky, director of the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale, currently director of the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, will discuss his writing process and take a few questions.
SESSION 4: Finding Your Voice
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, 4:00 pm EST
Your written voice is part of your individual or collective brand identity. This voice may emerge as an organic extension of who you are and what you do, but it is also an intentional expression of your role within the cultural and professional scene. Develop a credible and persuasive voice through writing that reflects your values as a designer and as a member of the larger community. Balance self-promotion and branding with advocacy for issues you care about.
SESSION 5: The Art of Editing —with guest speaker Nancy Levinson
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, 4:00 pm EST
How do you polish your own or your colleagues’ writing, and how do you know when to stop? Editing should clarify your message without flattening your voice. Nancy Levinson, editor of Places Journal, former co-editor of Harvard Design Magazine, will offer some advice on editorial strategy and do-it-yourself techniques. Learn to edit with focus, imagination, and restraint.
AIA New York