Reading Response: Week 13: Signs, Signals, and Signifiers
Architectural drawings, as the phrase is commonly referred to, imagines the construction of a specific form of space. They outline the structure and orient, or rather design, a specific function. Moreover architectural drawings are maps. The commonplace drawing today is a map of the design of the building. It is a language of symbols that outlines the construction of a building. Furthermore the plans of a building are the most detailed description of the specific place in any language. While tools have changed over the years, much of the language of drawing and representation has stayed the same.
The plans of a building dictate its intent and form. The inspiration and function are found in other representations. Perspective drawings represent what we “read” of the building. Unlike plans, which outline the intent of a space, perspective drawings outline the desire for/of a space. Plans have legends and signs, whether they are always present in the map or not for the reader most plans function in the same way. Perspectives are interpretations, they use the same signals, but they tell another story.
There are two functions to each signal: that which is known and that which is developing. “It was resemblance that largely guided exegesis and the interpretation of texts; it was resemblance that organized the play of symbols, made possible knowledge of things visible and invisible, and controlled the art of representing them” (Foucault, 7). In either case, the plan or perspective, the drawing language is developed through resemblance. They rely on each other, and the past, to construct the story of each represented space. Theses develop from that which we know, or the constructed spaces around us.
Visual language is learned as much by practice and rhetoric as by it is through our everyday signifiers. We know to read language before we learn to read or know what we are reading. Architecture is our first mediator.
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