Seeking Guidance
Q needed: lettering and architecture
hi all

i understand the topic im doing is relatively new and rather rare. i have been reading very broadly on the topic of lettering/text/typology/words and architecture/buildings. im more interesting in the exterior/facade, eg:

New Jersey Performing Arts Center designed by Paula Scher.
Terror Haza museum in Budapest.
The Minnaert Building designed by Neutelings Riedijk for Utrecht University.
The "alphabet building" by MVRDV in Amsterdam.
The Wales Millennium Center, a performing arts center in Cardiff.
Lentos Museum of Modern Art, Linz, Austria
The Veenman Printer building in Ede, Netherlands designed by Neutelings Riedijk.

thee are many authors have already identified their perspectives regards on the lettering and architecture. however im still struggle to find a question or an argument for my report/essay to write. can anyone look at above buildings and point some direction to me please?

Justin Smith
Q needed: lettering and architecture
Justin,one question that comes to mind is
"Are words necessary to explain the meaning and intention of built architecture"
Your research could take you to ancient architecture,edicts,Islamic calligraphy
and modern typography on buildings and their intentions.
Sambuddha Sen
Q needed: lettering and architecture
Look at airports and signage as a method of wayfinding. Apparently, London also did a superb job of signage in preparation for the Olympics.

The Guggenheim does a good job of incorporation its signage as part of the building design.
Shiraz Allibhai
Q needed: lettering and architecture
a couple of projects that may be useful for you...

A jewish cultural center in Mainz
All the inside is covered by letters. In some areas the letters are less dense and the abstract pattern transform into Piyutim- a medieval religious text.

And this is a mosque example also in Germany
Alia Himmat
Q needed: lettering and architecture
hi Sambuddha

thank you for your respond.

when you said "Are words necessary to explain the meaning and intention of built architecture?" is this referring to any particular types of buildings? can you give an example.

eg should library being label "library" on the exterior. or what if we remove the word "airport" from a airport terminal, can you still tell this is an airport?
Justin Smith
Q needed: lettering and architecture
Justin,my view is that in contemporary architecture it is difficult to identify the function and use of buildings by merely looking at it.for instance airports donot look disinctly different from say railroad station or a large shopping mall or for that matter alarge office complex. This comes from the tradition of universal space and rejection of typological coding by modern movement. therefore signage assumes importance.
Sambuddha Sen
Q needed: lettering and architecture
thank for the respond Sambuddha. i completely agreed with you, that the modern architecture can not be (easily) identified it's function without being labeled.

im currently reading Ornament and Crime by Adolf Loos, where he suggested architecture should be pure with "nothing" on them.

can you suggest any other books or authors that have similar kind of theory? (he or she totally against words/patterns/symbols on architecture). just through i can create some kind of arguments in my essay. cheers.
Justin Smith
Q needed: lettering and architecture
Justin,recalling my earlier response i had mentioned the absence of signification and codification in modern architecture.Mies had famously said somewhere that just because function is different does not mean that same cuboid space cannot serve different functions.
(not his exact words though,but the essence).Therefore you find a college,a house,a chapel .office tower all housed
in glass cuboid boxes.This kind of neutral expression became the trend in
USA and elsewhere for many years and defined the existing paradigm of the sixties to early eighties. But change was in the air, people were getting tired of endless number of glass boxes.
Communication became the buzz word,
post modernism arrived with whole lot of
signs, symbols ,revivalism of historical
orders,well recognised building typologies etc.
Some of these productions were good ,some indifferent and some down right
bad and pastiche.
The point being made is that communicating the intention and function
of the building had again become important.
Words like semantics, semiotics,syntax,
which essentially belong to world of
literature,language and grammar became the new buzzwords.
This I guess is not far from your research topic. Refer to Venturi,Phillip Johnson,Aldo Rossi,Robert A.M Stern.
Best wishes.
Sambuddha Sen


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