//
archives

architecture

This tag is associated with 52 posts

What does architecture represent?

For the architectural semiotician, buildings and building elements operate as signs, pointing to something other than themselves. So for the semiotician one of the key roles of architecture is to represent. For the semiotically informed, the things of nature are amongst the targets of representation, evident in floral and foliated ornamentation, frescoes of nature scenes, shapes that resemble tree … Continue reading

Whatever happened to architectural semiotics?

Few would deny that architecture communicates, and in that sense is a language, or at least like a language. As pointed out by the philosopher and semiotician Umberto Eco architecture does something else as well: it functions. So a substantial tiled roof not only communicates protection from the elements, but functions to provide such protection. Occasionally the two become … Continue reading

The magic circle

When I was a kid, the Magic Circle was well known as an association of stage magicians. Those within it knew the rules of the illusions and had to keep them secret. The other meaning of magic circle is obvious: a circle that is magic. Perhaps it’s the former that the philosopher Johan Huizinga had in mind when … Continue reading

The well tempered intellectual

I was pleased to read Alberto Perez-Gomez’s recent book Attunement: Architectural Meaning After the Crisis of Modern Science which endorses the pivotal importance of attunement, emotion, mood and Stimmung in architecture. In fact Alberto’s book came out at the same time as my Mood and Mobility: Navigating the Emotional Spaces of Digital Social Networks, both with MIT … Continue reading

Smarter surfaces

Living human and animal skin is palpably different from a touch screen video display. Digital technologies lie at the far end of a spectrum that begins with completely unadorned, raw, nature as you find it (e.g. unadorned human skin, or a leaf), and stretches to the maximally manufactured, contrived, and artificial (e.g. a touch screen, or a microchip). What could be more synthetic and unnatural … Continue reading

Thinking naturally

Does nature make you think, or at least help it along? Consider first work environments. The world of work is filled with tools that help us think through and solve problems: notepads, pens, networked smartphones, and computers. Effective thought relies on such cognitive prosthetics. Expert professionals are so dependent on tools to aid their thinking that it’s difficult to … Continue reading

How animals make us think

Dog, cat, sheep, fox, hen, Pokémon — we don’t only classify animals and their surrogates, but animals are a primary means by which we develop the very idea of categories — and their denial. That’s the main thesis of Paul Shepard’s fascinating book: The Others: How Animals Made Us Human. Classification Shepard argues that animals  are “unusual parts of our … Continue reading

Introducing hermeneutics to an architectural audience

Hermeneutics is of course simply the study of interpretation — what interpretation is, and how it works. But to study hermeneutics requires you to come to terms with the philosophies of Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Paul Ricoeur. To gain entry into hermeneutical discourse the scholar needs to come to terms with a particular collection of books and essays (a … Continue reading

Interactive architecture

How interactive is architecture? These days, networked computer systems, tablets and smartphones seem to exemplify interactivity amongst people, and between human beings and objects. Perhaps architecture participates in this interactive milieu in so far as it embraces concepts such as “virtual reality (VR) and 3D worlds, game design (including 3D games, platform games, and arcade games), mobile computing, … Continue reading

Time and tide wait for no one

“Rhythm is one of the most fundamental formal means of composition in classical music, poetry, and architecture,” according to architectural lore. Think of colonnades, window placement, stacked office floors, fence posts and pilons. Repetition provides a tool of spatial organization. This much is obvious. Is it repetition that animates people’s lives, or rhythm? In his book Rhythmanalysis,  philosopher Henri Lefebvre … Continue reading

University of Edinburgh logo

Richard on Facebook

Latest FB image
Or "like" my Facebook page for blog updates.

Try a one year research degree

AHRC/EPSRC/ESRC/MRC project

book cover
book cover

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 370 other followers