Review: The Architect's Guide to Writing

by Bill Schmalz

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Bill Schmalz has crafted an entertaining book that is full of general rules for writing as well as specific rules for writing about architecture and construction. The book is very informative, but it is also written in a manner that makes a boring topic entertaining with jokes, quips, and comical sketches throughout.

The Architect's Guide to Writing can be seen as a general book on grammar and writing - this is a necessity given that architects and construction professionals write using the same language as we use to write in general. However, Schmalz also provides countless advice that applies specifically to architects. For instance, there is an entire chapter dedicated to writing product Specifications. In addition, almost all of the example sentences in the book are specific to the construction industry.

We especially appreciate the chapter on writing emails, which isn't so much about the prose in the email as it is a guide to avoid annoying the recipient of your email. The simple suggestions ("make your subject line count" and "read your emails before you send them") might seem a bit obvious, but we wish more people would follow Schmalz's advice.

The chapter entitled, "Do You Need a House Style?" is incredibly valuable in that it has suggestions for a lot of words and phrases that apply specifically to architecture and construction. This is important because other usage guides like Garner's Modern American Usage don't cover a lot of the words that architects use. For instance, I am now comfortable using curtain wall as two words instead of one. And of course, you can learn the difference between fast track and fast-track.

While The Architect's Guide to Writing is not as in-depth as other usage guides, it provides important advice that is specific to the architecture and construction industries. We highly recommend that this book be added to your library and we suggest that you keep it close at hand when writing.

Read more reviews about The Architect's Guide to Writing for Design and Construction Professionals.

Article Updated: January 14, 2022

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