chapter  9
Representation and symbolism
Pages 16

This chapter explores how exposed structure enriches architecture when structural forms and details contribute meaning by virtue of their representational and symbolic qualities. Architect Sverre Fehn illustrates the deeply personal nature of human response to structural representation and symbolism. After acknowledging how representation and symbolism range from the literal to the ambiguous, the chapter illustrated the individualistic and personal nature of how meaning in structure is discerned. Representation based upon human artefacts is less common, but ship, boat, space-craft and book forms are also represented by structure. It then continued with examples of representation that draw upon the natural world for their inspiration. The 'Representation' section concluded with the representational and symbolic ambiguity of Giovanni Michelucci's remarkable Church of the Autostrada. Three buildings by Daniel Libeskind illustrated structure playing explicit symbolic roles, and the chapter concluded by considering a final building where any definitive meaning remains delightfully elusive.