Architecture as a three-dimensional language

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


"Architecture As A Three-Dimensional Language" is defined as a communication between architect and man manifested in form. It is useful to make an analogy between architecture and language since the purpose of both is to communicate.

Communication requires the use of signs and symbols. In architecture form communicates meanings through signs and symbols. Some meanings communicated in architecture through signs and symbols demonstrate a sense of shelter, function, and movement. Function manifested in form anticipates the need for movement in the environment. Movement involves defining a direction. Direction can be established through the use of view and path as they relate to form. These elements create the approach, entrance, and circulation pattern of each building. As each individual building communicates movement by establishing a direction, the city also establishes a direction for movement in a universal way.

Describing architecture as a language whose basic mode of communication is form suggests a design criteria based on how man perceives and responds to what the architect's design is trying to communicate.