Research Paper on Architecture and Language, Expression and Communication

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1086 Words
Date:  2022-09-19


Architecture is no doubt one of the oldest ways of reflecting the world in a non-verbal language full of expressions and visually communicating to the world, just as language is communication that uses elements and patterns of speech to pass down an intended message. Architecture adopts different forms of creative communication, including visual expression, deductive and hidden messages and many more. In truth, architecture is an interesting field to a creative person as it presents different perspectives of seeing the world other than the conventional norms, creating an interest that can rarely be attained using any other means (Iordanova, 2006). The study focused on the similarities differences in the aspect of language in architecture through expression as a means of communication and the normal spoken language, including some examples to demonstrate this concept.

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One writer, Tittmann.B equated architecture to a live tree with different branches but interconnected at the roots. This is true of the centuries-old mode of expression just as much as common language such as English, which have several different branches that are interwoven and intertwined extensively due to evolution over time but which have the same origin complete with ancient forms. Both retain set rules, signs, and symbols that make formation and understanding possible and which allow for creativity to flourish. The skill and art in making an architectural piece, as well as the mastery of the creator, is what rates their value and communication.

Another reason that architecture is equated to language and expression is that it mostly tells a story. Ancient architecture, for instance, offers us a glimpse into the past through the visualizations that are observed in them. As such, they tell a silent story that one can connect with by seeking to understand and learn the interpretations of such structures as the designer was trying to express at the time. As such, just like a history book, architecture can present an unwritten chapter of time, spanning back ages and ages especially since a good design could last for a long time if well preserved.

Ancient Greece Architecture

The scenography of roman and greek architecture above, for example, depicts the ancient ways of life and construction techniques of the ancient Romans for example. Without a single word and just at a glance, and experienced eye can catch the main features in the architectural masterpieces of the civilization that existed during the Roman times. This includes the modes of construction, their cultures, and recreational activities as depicted by the arena. It also speaks volumes about the role women played in the society during those times. The pictures alone are a very rich source of information to one who knows how to interpret them with a keen eye.

According to Vertic (2015), architecture is best described using six prepositions. First and foremost, architecture is an embodied knowledge through which ideas are transmitted by the designers to a wider audience, which though requiring skills to project, hold a lasting significance. Secondly, it can be seen as a social narrative that establishes its meaning from use and re-use over a period, giving rise to a recoverable history. This is available in visual relics that give a glimpse of the past. Third, the art is a medium for channeling information, values, and ideologies in the overt instrumental message by their mere presence at a particular location.

Architecture as a language can also be said to be a system that comprises of ever-changing and self-re-inventing decodable language that is easy to read yet symbolic in a manner that communicates the social purposes of a community without directly on its values (Vartic, 2015). Communicative architecture is expressive thus of the arbitrary relations as well as signifiers regarding form, materials and the structure as in the picture below.

Ancient Roman Architecture

In addition to the predispositions, the architecture allows humans to express who we are and our behaviors as it may facilitate a way of communication that denotes organization in the society, as well as discipline and, care for one another. Furthermore, the art of this kind could offer a projection of the future of the human race as it gives us meaning and push forth a continuous conversation from the past to the present and also delve into who we aim to be in future (Taurens, 2008).

Expression in architecture also employs visual methods such as cartography, including codes and individual special symbols that communicate the desired message from the designer to its audience. Through this means, it uses theme and space to express the age and even civilization as exists at the time. This concept of architecture is seen in cities and towns. It is theorized that cities and such urban dwellings provide a sense of direction in life, and art employed in designing the structures that constitute such dwellings express the urban realities as existing at the particular time and moment. Especially, the architecture allows one to represent space and through their skill and maneuverability convert it and express it in the form of virtual reality, which could be understood by another in a simple and meaningful manner. The problem arises when the old traditional methods lose their meaning with the rapid changes of the modern period, therefore reducing the effectiveness of the communication as was originally intended (Clarke & Crossley, 2000). Examples of cartographic language as depicted in architecture are shown below.

Cartographic Image

The layering done on this cartography is a proposition that reclines, and regeneration occurs over time, and the expression of information and usability reduces too.


In conclusion, though it is true that language in architecture is comparable to verbal language in some of the attributes, they bare similarities with, each of them is expressed in a different manner and to varying degrees of efficiency. In the study, we have gone through some of the modes of expression used in architecture as well as the repositions associated with language and communication. Overall, architecture remains a very important tool for expressing the designer's wishes as well as an important and long-lasting educational tool.


Clarke, G., & Crossley, P. (2000). Architecture and Language. Constructing Identity in European Architecture, c. 1000-c, 1650.

Iordanova, I., Heaton, L., & Guite, M. (2006). Architectural Design Spaces and Interpersonal Communication-Changes in Design Vocabulary and Language Expression.

Taurens, J. (2008). Meaning and context in the language of architecture. Place and Location: Studies in Environmental Aesthetics and Semiotics. Institute of Art History, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn, 353.

Vartic, L. (2015). Cartographic visual expression, a means of communication and exploration in architecture and art. Geographia Technica, 10(1), 90-95.

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