How to make buildings talk

Eleanor Jolliffe

The public are hungry for stories. Podcasts could be the perfect format for communicating architecture

I am a compulsive listener to talk radio and podcasts; Serial, Pod saves the World, This American Life, Political thinking, From our own correspondent, The Guilty Feminist… I could go on. My knowledge and understanding of politics and social issues is influenced and added to almost daily from voices from across the English-speaking world.

Humans are storytellers. Something primal in us reacts to verbal storytelling, almost as if our earbuds allow us to gather around a digital campfire to be entertained, informed or shocked. It seems unsurprising that the true crime genre has grown exponentially – tales of humanity in crisis or extremes always fascinate.

However, there is a particularly notable exception to my regular listening list – architecture and urbanism. So, over the last week I tried a couple of episodes of as many architecture-related podcasts as I could find – which is not many. Largely they seem to be back episodes of design and architecture talk radio shows, varying from specialist shows to one-off episodes of long-running radio documentary series. They are interesting but not immersive or compelling in the same way a Serial-style podcast is. Architecture podcasts offer theory and architecture talk for architects, but I struggled to find anything with narrative.

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