METHODS TO READ SIGNS AND SYMBOLS IN (RESIDENTIAL) ARCHITECTURE

Guest lectures at the bond of Korean female architects in Seoul, April 2017

This lecture is based on the fact that architecture fulfils the role as the conveyor of information. The façade, next to the form of the building, carries this function. The term façade (Latin facies = face) makes the connection with the metaphor of the human face clear: the façade of the building is meant to be the presentable side which is shown to the public. The human face communicates non-verbally by means of expression and mimicry. The façade does not have these dynamics. The façade can show what happens behind the screen to a certain degree. The façade can also exhibit an idea or represent an illusion; the façade is then a mask. The lecture focusses on the aspect of the language of architecture and how can we read this information?

There are several approaches to read and understand signs and symbols in architecture, semiotic and anthropological ones, which will be explained. Furthermore there will be shown a way how to read the façade as a face of a building by the research of gestalt psychology. These theoretical basic will be made comprehensible by examples of the Dutch architecture. The lecture ends with the critical notion of the readability of the contemporary architecture.