“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary” is a statement by Jim Rohn which holds true in the field of architecture. As architecture students, we may notice that most of our professors have a strong foundation in the field of architecture. While they impart heaps of knowledge, we often wonder how they have a deep understanding of the subject…Well, this comes from the extensive reading they had done as students and continue to do so not just as professors but as qualified and intelligible architects! 

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Magazine racks in the library: BMS College of Architecture_©bmsca.org

As interesting as architectural vlogs and podcasts seem, architectural magazines are also equally fascinating as far as reading is concerned. When it comes to reading between the lines, one may find it challenging to comprehend design only through words. Architectural magazines provide a platform where both text and visuals strike a perfect balance. They also provide a threshold for learning new design concepts and ideas beyond what we’re taught in the studio.  Magazines give us a virtual tour of different architectural marvels and interior spaces through different sections as we flip effortlessly through the pages. When we walk into the library, the first set of books we notice is always a series of magazines lined up across the racks. This is because magazine racks are always filled with new editions giving us a glimpse of the latest trends in the design industry. No two architectural magazines are the same. One often loses track of time while exploring various genres and issues of these magazines! 

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Architectural Digest-Cover page_©architecturaldigest.in
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Image aided write-up_©archive.architecturaldigest.com

Magazines like the Architectural Digest, The Architectural Review, Domus, Metropolis, Dwell, Architect’s Journal, etc. provide a wide variety of content ranging from interior design projects of established firms, celebrity homes, guides to luxurious lifestyles, material palettes, critical reviews of successful projects, advertisements for different products and furniture, industrial design to QR Codes for access to the samples through online websites. Most of these magazines are available at respective websites and provide a repository of articles related to topics covering buildings, films, documentaries, interviews, critiques, places, etc. They also provide a platform for viewing several videos about home renovations, podcasts, and upcoming competitions open for all students and architects over the world. 

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QR codes  in magazines_©indianprinterpublisher.com
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Illustration by Anna Sutor-Domus_©domusweb.it
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Architectural magazines bridge the gap between the theoretical and practical sides of architectural education. They give us an overview of what the design industry has in store for us. Reading architectural magazines expands our knowledge about different aspects of not just the profession but all the fields linked with architecture. A positive aspect of architecture is that the profession gives us the liberty to juggle between numerous design fields since we’re masters at multitasking. But to be able to do the same, one must absorb all the knowledge one can to venture into multiple design fields other than architecture. When we make it a habit to read magazines daily, we begin to have an upper hand in design studios. This upskills our creativity in the design-thinking process and makes it easier to generate a unique set of ideas. 

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Literature Study-Louis Kahn’s buildings_©architectural-review.com

Architectural Magazines are also involved in the initial stage of design while we prep for a new project through research and literature studies. Stating examples or quoting references from these magazines while explaining our design can help the jury or professors to relate better to our ideas and vision for the project. This gives people the impression that we indeed spend a good amount of time catching up with the latest trends in architecture and allows our friends to rely on the information we gather for group projects or tasks. These magazines keep us updated with several new concepts and technologies that the industry brings onto the plate. 

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A book  about ‘Genius Loci’ by Christian Norberg-Schulz_©scribd.com
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Architecture is one of the only fields where we tend to judge a book by its cover! The ability to communicate well adds a bonus to the first impression we create on the jury. During a design presentation, we must be able to express our thoughts crisply and interestingly to help the viewer grasp the objective and outcome of the design. Speaking skills are an essential aspect when it comes to executing our work. Believe it or not, sometimes words can describe what illustrations can’t. The quality of words or the choice of words is what shapes our design better. For example, words like ‘Genius Loci’, ‘Morphology’, and ‘Zeitgeist’ are concepts that have a deeper meaning when explained in words and the feel of a space. Words have a powerful impact on people when it comes to communicating effectively. A person who reads will find it easy to communicate and convince others while proposing an idea or design. 

AI-generated illustration by Midjourney_©indianexpress.com

A recent example of how effective use of words impacts design is an app called Mid-journey where a sentence is typed out in the form of a command: ‘/ Imagine: ….’, describing the scene in detail after which a series of AI-generated images appear which best portray the sentence in the most accurate way possible. The choice and the depth of words here are what lead to a satisfactory illustration. Apart from this, reading architectural magazines slowly helps us discover what style we like most and develop on the same. Good architectural magazines also help us pick our favorite set of firms we would like to work with. What’s more interesting is, reading such magazines would improve the writing style of those who aspire to be architectural journalists. After all, architectural journalism has found great scope that continues to thrive and build its niche in the present times. 

Author

Adiya is an architecture student pursuing her studies in BMS College of Architecture, Bangalore. She believes that architecture can not only be expressed through form but through words too which help evoke certain emotions in the readers. Her passion for art and writing is what peaks her interest in the field of architectural journalism.

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