Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti & Marina Lathouri

In this one-week intensive workshop, writing is considered as a tool to communicate ideas in a clear and direct way, moving away from the complexities of architectural jargon and academic writing. Each day consists of the introduction of a writing example, the discussion of it, and then the writing and reading in public of a short piece. There will be a final presentation at the end of the week.

The two main references are:

Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium, 1988

David Foster Wallace, Authority and the American Usage, in: Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, 2005

The five exercises are:

1. Description I

Example: Restaurant reviews from the New Yorker magazine

Exercise: Write about the physical, sensorial, emotional experience of a specific location (restaurant, bar, club, art gallery, theatre, etc.)

2. Description II

Example: Georges Perec, An attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris

Exercise: Note during a period of 5 hours and then edit the time spent in a public space (the same for all of the students) in London.

3. Cause and effect

Example: Jonathan Massey, Risk Design, 2013

Exercise: Identify a building in London and speculate about the political, socio-economical and technological conditions that informed and possibly determined its design.

4. Translation

Example: Toyo Ito, Tarzans in the Media Forest, 2011

Exercise: Select a brief text in a foreign language and then translate it into English, highlighting the words, themes or concepts which meaning does not properly transfer through translation.

5. Summary

Example: Colm Tóibín; Callil, Carmel (editors), The Modern Library: The Two Hundred Best Novels in English Since 1950, 1999

Exercise: Summarise an assigned architectural essay in 300-500 words

Fabrizio Gallanti is the Associate Director Programs at the Canadian Centre of Architecture in Montreal. He has wide-ranging and international experience in architectural design, education, publication, and exhibitions.

Marina Lathouri is the Director of the MA History and Critical Thinking programme at the AA.