Rethinking Semiotics in Architecture: ARCHITECTURE AS A PERCEIVED SIGN


  • Efe Duyan


semiotics, language, communication, design, meaning in architecture, experience, perception, neuroscience, Umberto Eco


The emphasis on the meaning of architecture according to semiotics has been prominent since ecology and social concerns became essential issues in architecture. The article revisits semiotics in architecture in light of recent neuroscientific research on perception, as an inhabitant can only read space through perception, which historically has been reserved for theories related to phenomenology and experience. Following a historical account of semiotics in architecture in the 20th century along with its impact on architectural thought and shortcomings, Umberto Eco’s semiotics of architecture in its connection to Hjelmslev’s linguistics has been elaborated to describe the potentials of an architectural sign model providing meaning and critical notions through its physical presence and existing cultural codes. In conclusion, an integrated version of the Hjelmslev-Eco model of architectural sign and multimodal perception theories is proposed to meet architectural semiotics’ initial theoretical promise of reaching out to society by reaching individual experience.