An Analysis of Whyte’s ‘How Do Buildings Mean?’ Essay

The undermentioned essay purposes to discourse and construe the thoughts presented in William Whyte’s “How do Buildings intend? Some issues of reading in the history of Architecture” . Whyte’s essay looks at the ways in which architectural historiographers attempt to grok the impression of architectural ‘meaning’ and the ways in which their apprehension differs from those of designers. It besides discusses the ways in which architecture can be viewed as a signifier of linguistic communication, a linguistic communication that translates an architect’s design thoughts and purposes through built signifier. The essay besides looks closely at the ways in which architecture is presented utilizing different signifiers of media, such as text, exposure, drawings and magazines and how these differ from physically sing an architectural work. Using Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum as an example, this essay will analyze the ways in which the ‘meaning’ of the edifice is presented through the usage of photographic images.

To get down, we must foremost hold an apprehension of the manner in which Whyte and other historiographers attempt to construe and understand architectural ‘meaning’ and how their apprehension can be seen as simplistic and uncomplete. For Whyte, an architectural historiographer, the procedure of understanding architecture differs from that of an designer. Architectural historiographers, as the undermentioned definition explains, tend to concentrate more on the historical minutes in architecture and the effects they have on societal and civilization values [ 1 ] . “Architectural History is more than merely the survey of edifices. It is the survey of the past and present and is an indispensable emblem of a typical societal system and set of cultural values” [ 2 ] . This historical attack towards architecture accordingly lacks an apprehension of the basicss of architectural design. As designers we understand the ways in which architecture comes approximately as a consequence of a punctilious design procedure that takes into consideration context, infinite, materiality and experience.

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To get down, we will look at an external exposure of the edifice. The exposure is ( Image 1. ) featured in Daniel Libeskind’s “The Space of Encounter” and shows the edifice within its environing context. One can see that the edifice is located in the metropolis, next to the preexistent museum and edifices of Berlin. At first glimpse one would non believe much of this exposure ; nevertheless its composing provides a non-verbal representation of Libeskind’s impression of a connexion between historical Berlin and Judaic civilization. The exposure depicts the edifice in such a manner which gives it laterality and regard with in its context. When picturing an architectural work, the position and graduated table of the exposure are extremely of import [ 3 ] . The graduated table of this exposure is of import as it gives the spectator an chance to detect the edifice in its entireness, giving a sense of size and mass, something that they would non physically be able to see by sing the edifice. It is besides of import to observe the Cranes in the background of the exposure. They provide another component to the image that once more symbolises Libeskind’s impression of admiting and encompassing Judaic spirit and civilization in the development and hereafter of Berlin.

The undermentioned exposure ( Image 2. ) is besides featured in Daniel Libeskind’s “The Space of Encounter” . This exposure once more shows the context of the edifice in comparing with the preexistent museum, this clip with much greater item. The exposure is of import as it non merely symbolises the connexion between the yesteryear and the present, but it besides shows the complex geometrical design and materiality of the building’s frontage. The composing and angle of the exposure illustrates both integrity and regard between the two edifices as neither one dominates the other. Similar to the old exposure, this image besides represents Libeskind’s impression of both a religious and physical connexion between the Judaic civilization and the metropolis of Berlin. The frontage of the edifice is a cardinal component of the exposure. Without anterior cognition, the form, arrangement and building of the Windowss within the frontage would look random and unwilled. However, these Windowss are an abstraction of a form that was created by Libeskind by linking the references of of import Judaic occupants throughout Berlin’s history on a map [ 4 ] . Another of import component of the exposure is the inclusion of people and cars as it provides the spectator a sense of graduated table, something that they would otherwise merely be able to grok by physically sing the edifice.

The 3rd exposure in the aggregation looks at the edifice at an even closer graduated table. The angle and composing of the exposure is important as it dictates how the image will be read. The exposure was taken on an upward angle which gives the spectator the esthesis of looking upwards at the edifice. When one analyses the exposure they are presented with the thought of a edifice which is indicating skywards. This can be translated as being a symbolic representation of Libeskind’s impression that the edifice is an recognition of the Judaic people traveling frontward and lending to the development of the metropolis of Berlin. The exposure besides provides a elaborate expression at the materiality of the edifice. The frontage of the edifice was constructed utilizing Zn panels. The Zn panels serve as a symbol of Berlin’s strong industrial history [ 5 ] . When showing architecture through the usage of exposure, elements such as materiality can be helpful in portraying an architect’s design purposes to the spectator. For illustration, the undermentioned image of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, although simple, is symbolic of his architectural purposes. The prominence of the minimalistic white concrete frontage can be interpreted as a edifice which embodies freedom, pureness and simpleness.

The above inside exposures are possibly the most important in assisting to interpret the architectural ‘meaning’ and design purposes behind Libeskind’s Jewish Museum. The exterior exposure of the museum do non give the spectator much information on what the interior composing of the edifice may be like. One would believe that the interior composing would be similar to the exterior margin of the edifice ; nevertheless the inside of the edifice is highly complex and intricate and does non associate to the outside. The inside of the edifice is a aggregation of galleries, nothingnesss and dead terminals, which provide the spectator with a sensitive and facing experience [ 6 ] .

Both of the above exposure illustrate the importance of materiality within the edifice. In contrast to the exterior Zn frontage, the inside of the edifice is constructed with strengthened concrete. The exposure on the right manus side is of the ‘Holocaust Void’ . The ‘Holocaust Void’ runs in a consecutive line through the full length of the edifice and is non accessible by visitants. The nothingness can merely be viewed by traversing one of the 60 Bridgess located throughout the edifice. Libeskind designed the nothingness to emphasis the feeling of absence felt by the Judaic people throughout the war [ 7 ] . Both exposures are peculiar in non supplying the spectator with a sense of location or context. This technique creates a sense of confusion and uncomfortableness for the spectator, something which is symbolic of Libeskind’s purposes of portraying the emotional and physical adversities endured by the Judaic people. The exposure put a strong accent on the materiality of the edifice. Both photographs show the strengthened concrete which is used throughout the edifice. The dull and glooming aesthetic quality of the concrete embodies a sense of isolation and withdrawal from the outside universe. The coloring material and composing of the exposure are all about supplying the spectator with a interlingual rendition of the architectural experiences embodied within the edifice.

In decision it is apparent that media, particularly photographs, can be used to develop and make an architectural linguistic communication which can be used as an analogical tool to understand and interpret the architectural ‘meaning’ of a reinforced signifier. Through the careful composing, graduated table and item of a exposure, the design purposes of an designer can be translated in order to supply the spectator with an apprehension of the significance embedded into the edifice. The Judaic Museum is a all right illustration of the manner in which this can be achieved. The aggregation of exposure featured in this essay all embody and typify the emotion and spiritualty which is experienced when sing the edifice. The edifice itself is a journey, a religious and physical journey which sets out to face and discomfort the spectator in order to recognize and observe the spirit of the Judaic people within the metropolis of Berlin.

Reference List:

  1. Arnold, D, Ergut, E, Turan, B 2006, ‘Rethinking architectural historiography’ ,NY USA, pp. 5
  2. Arnold, Dana 2002, ‘Reading Architectural History’, Routledge, Florence USA, pp. 1
  3. Whyte, William 2006, ’How Do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History of Architecture’History and Theory,Vol. 45, No.2, pp. 154
  4. Whyte, William 2006, ’How Do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History of Architecture’ History and Theory, Vol. 45, No.2, pp. 157
  5. Whyte, William 2006, ’How Do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History of Architecture’ History and Theory, Vol. 45, No.2, pp. 158

6. Kim, Eric 2011, ‘Eric Kim Street Photography, viewed 19 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ericimphotography.com & A ; gt ;

7. Artinger, Kai Dr 2013,Remembering a lost museum: The first Jewish museum and modern art aggregation of the world’ ,viewed 20 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //artdaily.org/ & A ; gt ;

  1. Libeskind, Daniel 2011,‘Jewish Museum Berlin’viewed 20 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  2. Edwards, Steve 2006, ‘Photography: A Very Short Introduction’ , Oxford Great Britain, pp. 85-122
  3. Stead, Naomi 2000, ‘The Ruins of History: fables of devastation in Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum’Open Museum Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 4
  4. Judaic Museum Berlin,‘The Libeskind Building’viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.jmberlin.de & A ; gt ;
  5. Judaic Museum Berlin,‘The Voids’viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.jmberlin.de & A ; gt ;
  1. Libeskind, Daniel 2011,‘Jewish Museum Berlin’viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;

Image Reference List:

  1. Bredt, Bitter 2011, Studio Daniel Libeskind, viewed 20 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  1. Bredt, Bitter 2011, Studio Daniel Libeskind, viewed 20 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  1. Ziehe, Jens, Jewish Museum Berlin,‘Lines Without Order? The Facade of the New Building,viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  1. Bragaia, Flavio 2010, Arch Daily,‘AD Classicss: Villa Savoye / Le Corbusier’ ,viewed 21 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  1. Radenz, Tom 2012, Renderdonkey,‘Angles’ ,viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;
  1. Robner, Marion, Jewish Museum Berlin,‘The Voids’ ,viewed 22 June 2013 & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.daniel-libeskind.com & A ; gt ;

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