Design professionals must write clearly in diverse professional settings. These settings range from creating notations on drawings, to developing concise project descriptions; from composing materials for websites, to compiling site documentation; or from developing of large-scale programs, to compelling project proposals. The Writing Standards for Interior Architecture Students at FIU establish a common baseline for acceptable writing in professional and academic settings. Our goal is that our students use this information to learn how to be good, effective communicators in any situation, including that of written verbal communication.
Professionals and university students rely on word processing programs to assist with spelling and grammar. At the most basic level, all assignments completed for courses in interior architecture (including design studios) include typed texts that have been composed or finished in a word processing software. Students should be vigilant users of the “spell check” and “grammar check” functions on all software, including MSWord, Illustrator, Photoshop, PowerPoint, AutoCAD, and Rhino, etc. Any error in spelling or grammar is unacceptable in writing assignments or on presentation drawings. Students should be particularly mindful of spelling and grammar errors in emails to their professors or other professionals. In addition to following the guidelines presented here in the Writing Standards, students should strictly follow the specific instructions for individual assignments laid out by their instructors.
Stylistic and Grammatical Guidelines
Please follow the specific guidelines listed below in every applicable situation.
- Write in the active voice. Instead of “red was used for the exterior” try “Tschumi chose red for the exterior.” Make it clear that the architect (or client, or contractor) ACTS in a specific way.
- Identify each person fully (first and last names) the first time you mention him or her, then refer to the same person by LAST NAME ONLY each subsequent time. For example, the very first time you mention the architect, identify her as Zaha Hadid, then every time after that identify her as Hadid. Avoid using the figureʼs first name alone (ie. Zaha).
- Be careful when using plural and possessive nouns.”Buildings” means more than one building; “building’s” means something belonging to the building.
- Be accurate when using punctuation in quotations. “Note where I put this comma,” and “pay attention to this exclamation mark!” “Do you recognize a misplaced question mark?” “Please put periods where they belong.” A valuable exception is when you include a quoted phrase within your own exclamatory or questioning sentence. For example, can we all believe that Kahn “asked the brick what it wanted to be”?
- “Then” and “than” are often confused. Examples:a) First the foundations were laid then the walls were constructed. b) The number of people in the room was greater than that allowed by the Fire Marshal. Remember that a “critic” writes a “critique,” and never the other way around.
- Never write “I feel that…” or “My opinion is that…” or &”I disagree…” because these papers are written as interpretations. Anything you don’t quote or paraphrase (anything you do not attribute to another writer) is assumed to be your opinion.
- Of course, when you ARE conveying the thoughts of another writer (or architect, or whoever) you must either quote or paraphrase that person. The former requires quotation marks, while the latter does not. In both cases, you MUST identify the person in your text and you MUST include a citation, such as a footnote or endnote. Two examples: Louis Kahn said that bricks wanted to be made into walls.12 (paraphrase) “I asked the brick what it wanted to be,” Kahn once claimed, “and it said, a wall.”12 (quotation) In both cases, a footnote follows the sentence. Always include a source for a quote or paraphrase. Failing to do so may result in charges of plagiarism and disciplinary measures. See the FIU handbook for university policies concerning plagiarism.
- Avoid repetition. Do not to use a word more than once in a paragraph, and be careful not to repeat words too much in the paper as a whole.
- Use standard footnote/endnote formatting, as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA).
APA formatting for footnotes/endnotes can be found by clicking here for the Purdue OWL website.
The Department of Interior Architecture strictly follows the rules and policies of the college and university when it comes to plagiarism. According to the FIU Handbook, the definitions of cheating and plagiarism are the following:
Cheating: The unauthorized use of books, notes, aids, electronic sources; or assistance from another person with respect to examinations, course assignments, field service reports, class recitations; or the unauthorized possession of examination papers or course materials, whether originally authorized or not. Any student helping another cheat may be found guilty of academic misconduct.
Plagiarism: The deliberate use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. Any student, who fails to give credit for ideas, expressions or materials taken from another source, including Internet sources, is guilty of plagiarism. Any student helping another to plagiarize may be found guilty of academic misconduct.
Please see the FIU Student Handbook for graduate and undergraduate students by clicking here.
Studio courses and “studio culture” have long been the hallmark of a design education. Many hours of designing and redesigning, building and rebuilding models, starting projects and starting over, and interacting with faculty and other students take place in the studio. At FIU Interior Architecture we value studio education and seek to foster a healthy and productive studio culture as a precursor to professional work and habits of mind.
Culture Of Optimism
Interior Architecture design studios are ingrained with a culture of optimism where students are optimistic about the skills they are learning, value making a difference to society, and confident that they will succeed within the discipline they chose. Interior Architecture administration, staff and faculty understand that the guidance and support of the Department is a vital part of this optimism.
Culture Of Respect
Design studios promote a healthy studio learning environment through promoting a culture of respect. Faculty and students work together to create a climate where student health, constructive critiques, the value of time, and democratic decision-making are all celebrated. In addition, studio activities focus on respect for ideas, diversity of processes, and the physical space of studio are all essential in order to enhance architectural education.
Culture Of Sharing
Design studios cultivate a culture of sharing. Studio learning activities encourage collaboration, interdisciplinary connections, and successful oral and written communication as a means of generating diverse and meaningful ideas. This department embraces this definition of sharing as a method interior architecture integrates within academic communities.
Culture Of Engagement
Design studios promote a culture of engagement. If our graduates will eventually serve as leaders within the profession and its external communities, our students must learn to engage these communities and understand the necessity of connecting with clients, users, and social issues. Thus Interior Architecture studio projects seek to engage opportunities presented through partnerships with various constituencies and the expertise of professional design community and experts in allied disciplines.
Culture Of Innovation
Interior Architecture studios support a culture of innovation by encouraging critical thinking, promoting creative thinking, fostering risk taking, and promoting the use of alternative teaching methods to address creatively the critical issues facing interior architecture.