Archi-speak shit list: 23 words you're here-forth banned from using


Architects, quiet word...

Sometimes when we write and speak, we chose words that not everyone is familiar with. Remember that old saying about trying to explain things so your Grandmother can understand? Now, granted, your Grandmother might be a renowned architect, but even if she is, let's try to make our language as accessible as a wheelchair-friendly bathroom. Because the more clear and concise our language, the easier it is for the public to understand and engage with our work. And getting architecture into the lives and minds of more people is what we want and need to achieve to ensure the profession remains relevant.

So, for the love of non-archispeaking humanity can we please stop using the following words to describe our projects:

  • Amenity: Because, gross, it sounds like a toilet.
  • Articulate/articulations: I'm not sure how much more clearly I need to articulate this...
  • Architectonic: Come on. I don't even know what this means.
  • Domestic Unless you're talking about servants. And even then, no)
  • Domestic container: We've all dreamed of owning a domestic container with a white picket fence at some point in our lives, haven't we? (Yes, I have actually read a house described as a domestic container. You can't make this shit up.)
  • Vernacular: Sounds like something we should be put in an isolation ward for.
  • Fenestration: They're windows. Openings, if you must.
  • Volume: Unless you're talking about your cousin's sub-woofer, or your glam new perm.
  • Praxis: What?
  • Bespoke: Try custom-made/designed, instead.
  • Dwelling: Sane people don't want to live in a dwelling, you hear me?!
  • Program (get with it): Seriously, rooms or facilities or pretty much anything is better than program.
  • Multidisciplinary: Tells me nothing other than you don't have the discipline to stick to what you're good at.
  • Occupant/occupation: We're not talking about the West Bank.
  • Centrally-located: So wordy. Also, you're not a real estate agent and you mean 'central'.
  • Formally: In terms of form or structure.
  • Form: I'll allow it on rare occasions, but be careful. It's a slip'n'slide of a slope.
  • Sinuous: Great word, I concede, but it reminds people of sinew, which is not ideal.
  • Envelope: If you ain't lickin' it, you ain't sayin' it.
  • Living quarters: Good lord, no. See also, sleeping quarters, bathing quarters.
  • Master bedroom: It's gendered and main bedroom works just as well.
  • Butler's pantry: Unless you have an actual butler.
  • Visual amenity: Why not just 'views'.

Can you think of any archi-speak words we've missed? Let us know in the comments so we can add them to the shit list...