*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. Several distinguished guest speakers will also share expert advice.
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 live webinars 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 LU 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
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT
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
Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT
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: Values and Voice — with guest speaker Fred A. Bernstein
Wednesday, June 16th, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT
Let your values fuel your writing and help earn readers’ trust. Develop a credible and persuasive voice through writing that reflects what matters to you as a designer and as a member of the larger community. We’ll take a close look at the sometimes tricky language of sustainability and environmental performance with journalist Fred A. Bernstein, a frequent contributor to Architectural Record and The New York Times.
SESSION 4: Crafting Your Story — with guest speaker Elizabeth H. Kubany
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT
The “project narrative” suggests not just a description, but a story. How do you tell stories about your work that not only highlight your effort and ingenuity, but also attract and hold readers’ attention? Expert PR and communications strategist Elizabeth H. Kubany will speak with us about writing with care and precision. Elizabeth is the principal of KUBANY, LLC, which represents clients across architecture, design and culture, including SOM. Previously she was an editor at Architectural Record magazine.
SESSION 5: Simplicity, Clarity, Elegance and Evocativeness
Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT
Former Wall Street Journal editor Shani Raja identified these four powerful concepts as the basis of good writing. We’ll adapt portions of his teaching specifically to architecture and design, where these concepts already have significance in terms of space, form, structure, materials and finish. Apply these ideas to make your writing sparkle.
AIA New York