Linguistic Concepts for Architectural Designing

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Here is a keynote speech that was delivered by Sabu Francis at a conference. It is about an hour long; but it would give a nice intro on the why of TAD . Even the what is also explained – as also the social context of architectural practice (especially in developing countries)

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A brief idea of the core concepts
Currently architects leave only half the information in the form of drawings: What is present in drawings is known as poché in French. They are the dark marks we leave to delineate solid matter. Clear information on the spaces are largely absent. To “extract” spaces, a visual interpretation of the drawings is needed on the part of the collaborators of the project.

When people tell me that drawings are the “language” of architecture, I try to convince them that one of the fundamental alphabets in that language itself is controversial. At best drawings are a form of pictograms – rudimentary languages where alphabets had visual analogues. Any empirical, especially visual analogue for an alphabet invites controversy. For example; what exactly does the figure of a bull mean in Harappa seals? (

No written language today would have controversies at the alphabet level – which is the smallest structure in a language. All semiotic interpretation issues in any written languages starts at the “word” and “sentence” and so on … even in specialized languages such as that of music notation, for example. There are no interpretation issues at the alphabet level in any written language. You will never see two poets who write in English, interpreting an alphabet which does not belong to any alphabet from A to Z

But architects have not yet agreed upon any fundamental language for themselves, especially what ought to be the alphabets there?

Current conventional BIM does not address this fundamental language requirements. As they all trace their ancestry to mechanical engineering software, they never really addressed the need to have spaces as fundamental alphabets. How I wish they had! I would have been able to get back to my own architectural projects.

My motivation for this different approach of BIM was simply this: Architects can no longer remain in silos. The knowledge that we produce MUST be left behind for objective analysis and understanding by anyone concerned or affected

Conventional BIM, that did not arise out of architectural theories, are still mired in controversies and interpretations. Hence data produced in those BIM are still prone to be kept in silos.

Enough theory. Let me not make this a theoretical discussion. I have spoken about this elsewhere in detail.

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Last modified: le 2023/04/22 20:59