Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

Architectural Writing Career Path: New Career Options

Do you find architectural design fascinating, have a flair for writing and are not afraid of experimenting? Architectural writing might be the right career option for you. Find out all about architectural writing career path, straight from award-winning architectural journalist & editor Ar. Apurva Bose Dutta, who has over 16 years of experience in the field.

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We’ve all heard of architects, but architectural writing is a relatively unknown career path. To break it down for you, architectural writers are professionals who write about architecture, design, and the built environment.

However, their job is not restricted to writing, it involves researching and studying the field to get an enhanced understanding of it. The power of writing can lead to further impact, and an architectural writer can also drive meaningful discussions and discourses through words.

1. Architectural Writing Career Path

An architectural writer can write on projects, professionals associated with architecture and allied industries, events and trends connected to the industry, and address challenges and offer solutions in the profession. Furthermore, they can use writing for their academic pursuits and can even venture into book writing.

Job responsibilities of an architectural writer include research and study on the topic one is attempting, interacting with the architects involved, travelling in some cases, and writing the piece. Sounds interesting? Get to know all about the architectural writing career path, work-life and growth options.

1.1 Industry/Sector

Architecture, media

Architectural writing involves integrating two fields, that of architecture and writing. Architecture is a visual and experiential field, and through its articulation and expression in the form of written words, architectural writers try to document, celebrate, analyse, and evaluate it.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Industry/Sector
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become a Architectural Writer
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.2 Social Image

Architectural writing is an unconventional career in India, and its visibility has been evolving at an incredible speed over the last few years. The need for aligning writing to architecture has been felt universally. However, due to its novelty in India, the vastness of the profession and the training required for it are not known to many.

1.3 Reasons to Become an Architectural Writer

Provides an alternate career path to architect, creative fulfillment and networking opportunities.

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Architectural writing helps to combine two disciplines of writing and architecture. Many graduating architects are looking at an alternate avenue of architecture besides mainstream practice, so this is a good choice for those who are writers by heart. The kind of exposure to architecture and incidental happening that occurs in this field is enormous.

For those who are interested in travel and exploring architecture, this is a great option. Even for those who are architects by qualification but are interested in writing on architecture and design, this field can be fascinating. The field provides ample opportunities to interact with the industry and professionals connected to the industry.

2. What It Takes to Be an Architectural Writer

2.1 Personality Traits Required

Critical thinking, writing skills, analytical skills, understanding of architecture

Architectural writing career path demands a set of skills such as technical understanding of architecture and design, writing skills, critical thinking, awareness of the architecture, design and building disciplines, and aptitude to understand what topics need to be written that would entice, as well as, educate the readers.

2.2 Physical Demands

A fair amount of travel

Architectural writing career path may require you to travel as professionals have to visit sites and events to study and write about them. Also, they should be willing as when one goes to study a site, the few hours studying could be a bit daunting, especially, if it is a vast site. Moreover, the ones who are interested in covering events have to attend the entire event, which could range from a few hours to 2 or 3 days. This can be concerning for some.

2.3 Psychological Demands

Stressful at times, requires full focus

One needs to be highly aware, updated and observant of what is happening in the profession. Writers must be researchers by heart, so one also needs to critically think through the plethora of information available on any theme and filter out only the essential facts.

On the other hand, writing requires time and peace of mind, as the roots of writing lie in the clarity of thinking. So if the deadline for the submission is too short, it can become a source of stress.

3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Architectural Writing

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3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

Architectural design, writing skills

The architectural writing career path is mostly about expressing your views through your words. Hence, having a flair for writing from an early age is a bonus. You should start reading and developing your writing skills and expressions. Get yourself acquainted with the basics of architecture and try and understand the psychological impact of architecture, design, and spaces to write about.

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Reading, writing

For becoming an architectural writer, developing an interest in writing and understanding the built environment can be extremely helpful in the longer run. You can explore writing spaces, experiment with new writing styles and even read about architectural design, which will familiarise you with the field in great detail.

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3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

None

We often come across movies where the main character is a journalist or an architect but rarely do we find fictional characters that are based on architectural writers.

3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels

Letters to a Young Architect, Why Architecture Matters

A few books that you can read in order to develop interest in architectural writing career path are:

• Letters to a Young Architect by Christopher Benninger
• Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger
• Writing Architecture by Carter Wiseman

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4. Life as an Architectural Writer

4.1 Part-Time Options

Yes

Architectural writing offers flexibility similar to any other type of writing in the journalism profession. You can either choose to become a full-time architectural writer or pursue it part-time. Since architectural writers mostly need to write copies and at times need to visit sites or events, part-time and freelance options are available. While part-time jobs or freelance don’t offer traditional job security, they are becoming quite famous among the youngsters.

The pandemic has further accelerated the need for hybrid workspaces and flexible timings, hence picking a career option that presents you with both options is a good idea.

4.2 Travelling Required

It’s an integral part.

You might need to travel when you are working on projects and hence visiting the project sites to write on them becomes unavoidable. Although in some cases it might not be feasible to visit the project site. You will also need to travel when you are interviewing or quoting professionals from the field or while covering events. Travel is a very important part of this field. However, in the past 1.5 years, everything has shifted to digital. Due to lockdown the restrictions, travel has been zero, but the work is not suffering.

4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect

The average workday of an architectural writer depends upon whether they are working with an architectural magazine or a firm related to architecture. If you are working independently and are not a part of a team, then your average day would be entirely different from what it might be for many architectural writers working in teams or certain organisations.

While working independently, no two days are similar. On some days, you may have to travel visiting sites and events that you are writing on, meeting architects and professionals to get insights on the theme of your article or book. On other days, you might find yourself researching the topic or writing the final piece.

5. Future of Your Career as an Architectural Writer

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5.1 Retirement Prospects

No fixed age

There’s no fixed retirement age when it comes to doing what you love, you can continue writing forever. Even if you are working for architectural firms and you retire from the job you can create your own blog and continue to write about the topics you love. Moreover, there are many avenues, mediums, and channels for architectural writers to continue writing after retirement, including print media such as books, magazines, journals, and newspapers or digital media.

5.2 Threats from Automation

None.

Architectural writing requires a lot of knowledge and experience in the field of architecture, strong research skills, analytical skills, critical thinking, and articulation. Therefore, technology cannot replace this job role in the near future as it needs a human mind to frame unique and creative writeups and share insights.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

Unconventional career path, maybe financially less lucrative (in the foundation years) for some

Any unconventional field has its challenges. Since architectural writing is not mainstream yet, there might be a lack of correct information about the scope, opportunities of the field and how you can pursue it. Lack of good training in architectural writing in India can be another reason why people feel like quitting or looking for other options.

However, in case of unconventional career paths, patience and perseverance are required to explore the field and align to what works best for the individual. You need to diversify when in the field of architectural writing and start writing for different communication channels. Many try and keep their writing limited and thus find it financially straining, especially in the foundation years.

So, that is all about the architectural writing career path. Although new, it has its perks like the opportunity to travel, network with the industry and enhance your knowledge of architecture in diverse ways. Don’t forget to share your views with us about this career path. If you have any questions or feedback, comment below or tweet @CareerNuts.

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