To Write Architecture

It was a relief to step out of the drizzle into the tired, tiled walls of the Cooper Gallery entrance. The interior was bleak and its wide open doors provided little shelter from the penetrating cold outside. I headed up the marble stairs to an unfamiliar landing where there was a small stand featuring white wine and plastic cups. I followed the open door towards a bright room with no corners. The walls were pure white and contrasted the black of the microphones and cameras. Twenty or so chairs were perched in rows and held several well-dressed academics but also a few students sporting colourful hair styles.

I took a seat in the third row and pulled out a small notebook to take any notes. Looking around I felt out of place in my sports leggings and zip up next to the vintage oversized jumpers worn by the other design students. Peering over the head in front I tried to make a guess as to who this ‘spacial theorist’ was. I picked out one woman dressed in a grey blazer suit who looked above everyone else. However this turned out to not be Jane Rendell.

Jane Rendell took her place at the head of the room and settled in her chair before awaiting her introduction. She was a small woman dressed in plain black clothing with her dirty blond hair hanging straight, framing her face. After the introduction I was still unclear what her specialty was but I was eager to listen to what she had to say in looking critically at a space.

She started by reading a short extract which described a space imaginatively but also analytically. It was an interesting style of writing incorporating architectural terms and phrases with adjectives and feeling. Rendell carried on to discuss various works she has completed recently and how she came to producing them.

The talk appeared to jump between several issues and topics which in turn let me to struggle to make much sense of each issue. I couldn’t quite grasp her important points very well as she flicked between different photographs and slides.

However one thing which I did understand from the lecture was using words to fill in the blanks between photographs. They way Jane Rendell spoke about this was engaging and opened my eyes to a new form of expression. I am not much of a writer myself and prefer to put my ideas out through sketch and design work but Rendell’s way of portraying the feeling of a space through words has inspired me to aim towards writing with the same poetic sensibility.

Overall the talk kept me engaged but I came away with lots of questions and a feeling of confusion. Rendell came across as an incredibly smart woman so maybe this was in her intentions or maybe I simply had not researched her work thoroughly enough before the lecture, but overall I felt the talk was an eye opener to me none the less. However listening to the way she strung her words together was inspiration enough for me to develop the way I utilise the English language and the way I portray my work through words – to write architecture instead of writing about architecture.


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