An Interdisciplinary Framework of the Visual and Semiotic Lan ...

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Abstract

Despite their rigid appearance, architectural objects demonstrate a visual language that is loaded with semantics and semiotics. This article introduces and discusses a new framework for the analysis of the language of architecture. The framework is formulated to highlight the various physical dimensions and metaphysical layers of architectural products. The approach underlying the framework development applies an interdisciplinary analogical reasoning process for the reverse engineering of architectural precedents. It is based on an analogy between architectural compositions and natural language structures. The analogy is developed to enhance systematic analysis of precedents’ designs. The framework is devised to be comprehensive in decoding the seven layers of design consisting of the lexical, morphological, syntactic, semantic, semiotic, pragmatic, and phonetic attributes. To demonstrate its applicability, the framework is applied to analyze a prominent case study from Islamic architecture. This application on the Süleymaniye Mosque demonstrated the analytical power of the framework and helped highlight new aspects in Sinan’s multi-faceted compositional language. The framework can be applied to analyze any precedent to externalize its physical features and ephemeral connotations.