Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 6(3), pp. 120 - 132
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2018.060303
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Architecture as Meaningful Language: Space, Place and Narrativity

Nikolaos-Ion Terzoglou *
School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Greece


A semiotics of architecture should focus on the process of the production of meaning through the articulation and organisation of space (and time). This articulation has, at least, a mental side (conception) and a material side (realisation). However, it would be misleading to try to reduce this double articulation into a formal logic alone (Pierce). Proxemics has convincingly demonstrated that spatial forms are part of social life and that their meaning depends on (and refer to) cultural values. We should study and think of the semiotics of space in the broader context of a semiotics of culture, insofar as its system of signs aims at the production of cultural meaning that is part of a code of social hierarchies and distinctions. In this paper, I propose a preliminary intersection between semiotics, literary theory and modal narratology. To decipher the social values that are inherent in spatial forms we need not only a general theory of their interpretation but also a theory of their manner of telling, their narrative structure, their plot, and how this plot is anchored and activated into specific and determinate social chronotopes. A possible strategy that would allow for the above intersection to take place could be a broad conception of the notion of 'text' that includes 'space' as a narrative process and as a discourse that follows a specific 'narrative grammar'. Therefore, architectural semiotics should lay emphasis on the process of the conception, design and production of spatial meaning as if this process was the writing of a social text, a codification of a narrative in space. In this paper, I will focus on a fragment of this project, examining some of the semiotic correlations and conceptual conjunctions between literature and architecture.

Space, Place, Life-world, Prefiguration, Configuration, Refiguration

Cite this paper
Nikolaos-Ion Terzoglou (2018). Architecture as Meaningful Language: Space, Place and Narrativity. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 6 , 120 - 132. doi: 10.13189/lls.2018.060303.