Giuseppe Gallo, creative director of Mirabilia, created this series of nine posters to stimulate reflection on the use of syntax in Architecture. For each of them I was inspired by the architecture of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), where syntax between individual elements arises from responses to functional problems, characterizing or generating new formal solutions.
- Serpentine Pavilion 2016 – London, UK
- Kistefos Museum – Scandinavia
- Amager Resource Center – Copenhagen, Denmark
- Vm Houses – Copenhagen, Denmark (with JDS Architects)
- Via 57 West – New York, USA
- The Spiral – New York, USA
- Wilson Secondary School – Arlington, USA
- Kimball Art Center – Park City, USA
- 1200 Intrepid – Philadelphia, USA
Why a series of Posters on Syntax in Architecture?
The widespread use of digital tools has changed the architectural profession. A mature use of technology is influencing the language of “post digital” architecture.
Charles Morris argues that in every language the study of semiotics is discernible in three different fields: Semantics, Pragmatics and Syntax:
Semantics is the study of relations between the system of signs and their meanings. Pragmatics is the study of the relations of signs to interpreters, and in architecture the relationship between the sign and the behavior it engenders. Syntax (syntactics) is then defined as the study of the formal relations between signs; this field of analysis makes the study of signs possible, with particular reference to their relations with each other, by excluding from the survey both their meanings and functions.
The language of architecture has evolved along with the human race and in accordance with its needs, giving more weight at different times to each of these three aspects. Today’s computational architecture and collaborative tools make architectural design an even more polyphonic effort. Architecture also has complex requirements which need to be met with a broader approach and this affects the evolution of architectural syntax, which will further be changed by applications of AI and robotics.
Why did I choose Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)?
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is one of the most important firms in the contemporary architectural scene: a group of more than 300 professionals working on different scale projects worldwide, with offices in Copenhagen, New York and London. This studio is famous for its approach to design that steers clear of formalism or pure pragmatism, focusing rather on solutions to real problems through “programmatic alchemy”.
Working on these posters gave me the opportunity to understand how their approach affects the finished architecture and in particular more about the syntax of their projects. Indeed syntax is one of the formal aspects that, in my opinion, characterizes many of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)’s works compared to the work of previous generations of architects. Their projects generate a syntactic evolution transpired by the will to find new solutions for environmental, social, economic and technological problems.
I would like to say thank you to Eliano Felicio for his suggestions and advice, to Serpentine Galleries, to The Durst Organization and Amager Resource Center for allowing me to present this series of Posters. I also wish to thank Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for accepting and supporting my personal initiative, and especially to Daria Pahhota and Magdelis Santos for their kindness and availability. Source and images Courtesy of Giuseppe Gallo.