Volume 4, Issue 2 (2014)                   BSNT 2014, 4(2): 22-35 | Back to browse issues page

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dabagh A M, mokhtabad amrei S M. Reading the architecture of contemporary mosques in Tehran with semiotics approach. BSNT. 2014; 4 (2) :22-35
URL: http://journals.modares.ac.ir/article-2-9824-en.html
1- PhD in architecture, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran
2- Professor, Department of Dramatic Literature, Faculty of art and architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (2230 Views)
The design of mosques in the Islamic countries has brought the recent designers with two key challenges. That is, the ideas and concepts regarding the tradition of Islam on the one hand, and the postmodern ideas of the global village on the other hand attract the design to themselves. Semiotics is a discipline that reads the texts to recognize and semanticize the signs of the texts. Architectural semiotics is a sub-discipline of art semiotics and therefore has a dependent representation. Considering the theoretical concepts of architecture, and along the linguistic and semiotic theories, it is required to develop and reproduce architectural semiotics. For this purpose, we introduced the linguistic concepts and theories of the semioticians, and then provided a model for semiotic reading of architectural works as spatial texts that are formed from diverse layers. These layers, which are classified into process and system layers, form the architectural text by their interrelation. The ideas about function, economic issues, time, aesthetic concepts, socio-cultural issues, and hermeneutic concepts form the system layers, and the issues regarding training, experience, subject, employer, and architect's attitude form the process layers of an architectural work. The semiotic reading of architecture aims to reproduce the design based on the relations existing between these layers and the impression of the addressee. In this paper, a model of architectural semiotics has been developed and introduced by the study of the theories of semioticians and based on the theoretical fundamentals of architecture. This model has been employed and tested for the reading of three contemporary mosques of Tehran (mosques of Tehran University, Tarbiat Modares University, and al-Ghadir Mosque in Mirdamad Street). The reading of the contemporary mosques can be used for the study of the concepts of Islamic tradition and its relation to the today's world. The reading of these experiences teaches the today's designers how to behave with the valuable principles of Islam tradition and its reflection in the recent era. Today, there are different theories on the formation and reading of architectural products. Such theories have been derived from human science in the past three decades. For instance, the ideas of Derrida can be traced in the ideas and designs of Eisenman, the philosophy of Heidegger has been reflected in the notions of Norberg-Schulz, or the recent architects and theorists such as Alberto Perez-Gomez and Nader El-Bizri have conducted phenomenological researches in architecture. Since 1970s, linguistic studies have been employed in art studies and it was followed by the application of semiotics as a branch of linguistics in the criticism and reading of artistic texts. In 1980s and 1990s, several books and PhD theses were written based on architectural semiotics. Such publications focused mainly on the literature of semiotics and tried to create a link between these concepts and the theoretical fundamentals of architecture. They provide no specific method based on semiotic theories for architectural reading. Considering these facts, this paper aims to introduce a method for architectural reading based on the semiotic theories.In any interpersonal action or communication, we produce and reproduce text. Any social text (like architecture) contains a message or a set of messages that are transferred to the addressee through signification nodes and intertextual relations. The addressee receives the messages of the text and semanticizes the text based on the network forming the text as well as the intertextual relations and layers that are interpreted by social conventions, subjective issues and understandings, and his point of view. That is, any text provides the addressee with a signification system and network, and each component of this network refers to another component in the network. Each component of the network is a sign inviting the addressee to represent and reproduce the text, which is itself a network of signs. These signs have no meaning in isolation, and they only receive their signification function when they are inserted in a network-like context of a text. To understand, interpret, and semanticize the text, a coherent discipline is required to recognize the elements of a text, intertextual relations, and interpret the meaning of a text. This discipline is called semiotics, and it is concerned with anything that can be taken as a "sign" Semiotics is the understanding of the phenomena of the world by reading the existing signs , and it produces meaning for the social phenomena based on signification relations. In other words, semiotics is the study of signs based on all cultural manifestations such as language, music, film, fashion, architecture, and the layers beyond tangible signs, as well as connotations and the absent realms of a text. Semiotics has three main functions including the study of signs, the relation between signs, and reading of addressee. Two structuralist and poststructuralist approaches govern semiotics. The structuralist semioticians had a linguistic approach and decoded the texts by believing in a direct relation between text and its meaning. The poststructuralist semioticians recognized an indirect relation between the text and its meaning, and dealt with the pluralistic aspects, internal layers of the text, intertextual relations, and Différance.In the following, several contemporary mosques in Tehran have been studied using semiotic approach.The hermeneutic layer consists of several sub-layers and meaning streams from a sub-layer to another sub-layer in a fluid and unfixed manner. Thus, the reading of an architectural text requires to pay attention to the layers forming the design and to semanticize the design based on the collocated layers. In the construction of contemporary mosques, no attention is paid to the layers of the architectural body and the balance between these layers, and only the functional and anatomical aspects are of significance. The simultaneous attention to the layers involved in designing contemporary mosques enables us to develop mosques that have appropriate functions, reflect Islamic aesthetics, have an Islamic-Iranian approach, and meeting the needs of today's human. In such a case, there will be no need to repeat the history and merely imitate the historical elements of mosques, but rather, the broad Islamic concepts are reproduced based on today's approach.
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Article Type: Analytical Article |
Received: 2013/07/28 | Accepted: 2014/07/31 | Published: 2014/09/23

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