Metaphor and Architecture

Metaphor and architecture
Metaphor comes from Middle Frenchmetaphore ( Old Frenchmetafore, 13c. ) , and straight from Latinmetaphora, from Greekmetaphora ” a transportation, ” particularly of the sense of one word to a different word, literally “ a carrying over, ” frommetapherein ” transportation, carry over ; alteration, alter ; to utilize a word in a unusual sense, ” frommeta- ” over, across ” [ 1 ] .Using metaphors in architecture can be tricky at times as there is a really all right line between tacky and kitsch. This essay explore the application of corporal knowledge in architecture by utilizing metaphor and an first-class undertaking designed utilizing metaphor – Terragni’s Danteum which is a interlingual rendition of Dante’s Divine Comedy into architecture by beds of significance.

From the debut, we get a little apprehension of what is metaphor. Before diging farther, we’ll explore metaphor more extensively here. As we know in literature, metaphor is a medium in connoting things and objects that are different from each other but carries some similar feature between them. For illustration, ‘ Alice is a walk-to dictionary.’ ; this sentence does non intend that Alice is a dictionary but it means that she is so smart and knowing that she is like a dictionary that is ALIVE. In this instance, when we think about ‘dictionaries’ , vocabulary, book and cognition came into our head while ‘walking ‘ gives personification to the term ‘ walking dictionary’ . Arguably, Shakespeare has possibly the best usage of metaphor in his plants. In Sonnet 18, he uses summer as a metaphor for his love. From the above illustrations, we can see that the appropriate use of metaphor entreaties straight to the senses of the readers by heightening their imaginativeness. Therefore, metaphors give the readers fresh positions, thoughts and believing sing the topic.

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Barie Fez-Barringten one time quoted

“Metaphor is a accelerator which fuses memories, experiences and other manner of being ; it embodies within its ain peculiarity certain cosmopolitan symbols and constructs common to mankind. Metaphorically things, times and topographic points known to hold a discriminatory particular or localized usage in one context are explicitly employed in another. One familiar and one unusual term are normally composed into a individual signifier where one term usually used in one context is brought over into another with the usage of illuminating ; doing more apparent something in the 2nd sphere which otherwise remains obscure.”

However, the inquiry sing how metaphor and architecture relates still remained unreciprocated. How can we plan with metaphor? Metaphors can raise senses such as sound, gustatory sensation, odor, touch and sight to the readers. Interestingly, there is a research sing corporal knowledge in Psychology which suggests that the senses mentioned earlier influences the manner worlds make opinions of the external universe. Now we can see how senses and corporal knowledge are connected to each other. By utilizing metaphors, we can determine and change the experiences of the people in our architecture by raising their senses.

White, M.A one time quoted

“In fact, the relationship between physical experience and idea is a cardinal component in cognitive linguistics” . He besides said that the physical interaction of the bodily human being with his/her environment plays a major function in authorising adult male to build abstract idea.

From the diagram above, we can see some touch senses and how people think and feel sing them. Let’s take an illustration, Light gives a feeling of insouciant, fun, high-tech, inexpensive, delicate.

We can easy place architecture that relates closely to some of the properties mentioned above – SANNA – Rolex larning Centre.

From the image above, we can see how white gives the edifice a futuristic feeling. The really fact that the edifice has an organic form and ‘not touching the ground’ gives an air of high tech magnificence. Although it doesn’t gives a inexpensive vibration, the slim and long columns and all other simple item decidedly makes it really delicate. The slender column back uping the roof, the form, the coloring material strategy made the undertaking really elegant. On the other manus, Heavy gives a feeling of importance, valuable and seriousness. We don’t even necessitate a specific illustration for this as it has ever been around us. We can frequently happen memorials around us which are normally made or built with rocks, marbles and concrete. In United States, the White House and Pentagon in a manner convey the political and military art of the state. Our really ain Cardiff University Main edifice is a really good illustration that gives people feeling of importance, valuable and earnestness. In fact, a batch of old political and educational establishment edifice shows weightiness and in most instances they are masonry edifice. The ‘heavy’ isn’t merely the physical weightiness as in weight, but besides the metaphysical solemn vibration that these edifices relay to the people. This clearly proved that the surveies about corporal knowledge is true, the head and the organic structure is inseparable.

Continuing from the last paragraph, we can briefly mentioned the connexion of the senses – Light and Heavy to the stuffs used. As mentioned above, most old political and educational establishments are masonry edifices. Materials besides play an of import portion in raising senses. Let’s take an illustration, concrete.

I believe this is a instead common conversation between a coach and a pupil everyplace around the universe. At least, this conversation was my really ain experience during tutorial, and my coach has been teasing me to make up one’s mind the type of concrete I want to utilize for hebdomads. A image speaks a 1000 words, so the undermentioned images would do the treatment easier to understand.

The first image shows the church of visible radiation by Tadao Ando while the 2nd images shows the Brother Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumpthor. They are both churches and the stuff used are concrete. I think we can see how different they are. Being inside the church of Light and Brother Klaus Field certainly give the visitants wholly different feelings, we can see the importance of stuff, non merely the pick of stuff ( glass, steel or concrete ) but besides how we are handling the stuffs.

The dramatis personae affects the textures ( smooth or unsmooth ) . The composing of the concrete mixture affects the coloring material, texture and ‘heaviness’ of the concrete. All these small inside informations are things that designers can make up one’s mind, and this determination plays a critical function in making the ambiance and raising the senses of the people utilizing the edifice.

Forty, A. one time said that “Successful metaphors rely on the dissimilitude of things, non upon their similitude. The feature of an effectual metaphor is it borrows an image from one scheme of thoughts, and applies it to another, antecedently unrelated scheme.

With the decision on the relationship between metaphor and architecture, we are traveling to analyze a undertaking called The Danteum. The use of metaphor in architecture has been taken to a whole new degree in Danteum. Although it was ne’er built, it is decidedly a undertaking worth analyzing. What makes Danteum successful is the beds of significances that surrounds the undertaking.

Danteum is an unfulfilled undertaking commissioned by Mussolini’s Fascist government.At that clip Italy was ruled by Musolini. In order to set Italy back on the universe map as one of the strongest state, Mussolini for a literary chef-d’oeuvre of Italy’s olympian and canonized yesteryear as a representation of Italy’s illustriousness and asked Terragni to plan a memorial for Dante’s Divine Comedy. Danteum was ne’er built due to the diminution of mussolini’s power during World War II. The edifices take the visitant through a sequence of 3 different kingdoms: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Divine comedy can be interpreted into several distinguishable degrees as it is interlaced with the physical, societal, political and historical system.

Terragni takes the visitants through different brushs in his proposal. There are four primary constituent in the Danteum: The entryway tribunal, Inferno, Purgatory and Paradiso.

The image above shows the circulation way that can be taken. The visitant enters a long narrow tract and would hold to do a u bend into the courtyard. The atmosphere alterations from a more restricted infinite to a more unfastened infinite in the courtyard. However, the infinite diminishes once more as the visitant advancement from the tribunal to the wood of columns so to the three stairss. As the visitants pass through the columns and down some stairss, the sum of visible radiation in the infinites easy diminishes every bit good till they reach Inferno. The Inferno which is in a form of a aureate rectangle can be decomposed into seven squares with different floor highs. This is rather different to a conventional edifice where the walls are those that are changed ( holding window, nothingness or gaps of different tallness and size ) . The hell has a dark inside with light coming in through the narrow spreads. Then, the visitants would hold to travel up a series of stepss that leads to Purgatory which is a reminiscent of the abbreviated conelike mountain island holding seven valances. From here, the infinite becomes brighter as they proceed from Purgatory to Paradiso. Part of Paradiso ( upper portion of Paradiso in floor program ) extends to the Empyrean while the other side leads to the issues.

The ambiance in hell Paradiso

Danteum is designed with compositional, numerical and descriptive properties from The Divine Comedy that form the plan of the undertaking. The spacial administration of Danteum adheres closely to the verse form. Alternatively of utilizing a actual interlingual rendition on The Divine Comedy, Terragni delved deeper into history and other metaphorical elements to connote elusive narrative of the verse form. In the image below, you can see how Danteum’s floor program is based on the Golden Section which was popular after the Renaissance period. There is 2 squares overlapping and shifted off from each other to organize a Golden Rectangle. This forms the margin of Danteum and creates a threshold between the 3 kingdoms. The usage of Golden Section as a proportioning system besides generates the placement of the columns which is more obvious in the Inferno. The hell is decomposed into 7 squares where the columns were placed at the centre of a nested square within the Golden Section. The Columns besides diminishes in size, gyrating along the Golden Section. On the other manus, the columns in the courtyard are of the same size and array upon a square grid. The handling of columns in Danteum is unconventional in the modernist motion where the wall defines the kingdom while the columns dance in infinite which is different with the modernist motion. Plan and Golden Section

The numerical properties of the Divine Comedy plays a immense portion in Danteum’s design. It besides influences the columns in Danteum where they denote the abstract construction of the verse form. There are 100 cantos in the verse form and therefore there are besides 100 columns in the Danteum.

In the verse form, the imaginations of the kingdoms were described through topological constructions. The Northern hemisphere had landmass with Jerusalem at the centre whereas the Southern Hemisphere is covered with H2O. The hell – snake pit was created when Lucifer was thrown out of Eden when dramatis personae in the deepness of fire.

This image shows the subdivision cutting across Inferno and purgatory. ( Inferno on the left, Purgatory on the right ) . Notice how Inferno is lower than the Purgatory? Since in the verse form, creative activity of Inferno is the ground why Purgatory is formed, mass of Earth from hell is transferred to Purgatory doing Inferno lowest portion of the kingdom ( snake pit is the lowest ) , back uping the Purgatory with mass from Inferno ( Inferno as a foundation of Purgatory ) . Purgatory is described as a mountain surrounded by H2O. The mass from Inferno made Purgatory into a ‘physical mountain’ surrounded by H2O ( As mentioned before, the South hemisphere is covered with H2O ) .

Paradiso is the 3rd room sitting above the 100 columns ( the hundred columns is a metaphor for dante’s wood with light filtrating through the glass block above merely like how light is filtered by the foliages in the wood ) . It is constructed with grid construction, with 33 glass columns. The floor, beams, roof are all made from glass. The contemplation and refraction of visible radiation off the glass surface gave Paradiso a Ethereal feeling that one can easy associate and conceive of when one idea about Eden. The stuff pick for Paradiso made it a really light compared to the other relams. ( Refer to floor program ) , note that there is 9 circles in the center of Paradiso, the 9 circles are really glass columns stand foring the 9 domains environing the Earth, and beyond that sits the concluding place of God. In Paradiso, psyches are entitled a particular sphere harmonizing to their virtues.

On the other manus, the 7 squares in Purgatory represent the salvation of the seven wickednesss. The roof has comparatively big nothingnesss to allow light into the infinite compared to Inferno. In the subdivision, observe how the land degree for Inferno is uneven and the slabs supported by the columns are non connected leting visible radiation to slice through the roof, they convey the rough landscape on Earth in a more utmost signifier harmonizing to Terragni’s text “The esthesis of the at hand, of nothingness formed under the crust of Earth and through a awful seismal upset caused by the autumn of Lucifer’ .


  1. Schumacher, Thomas L. , Terragni ‘s Danteum,2neodymiumedn ( Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press,1993 )
  2. Kanekar, Aarti, Metaphor in Morphic Language ( London: UCL,2009 )
  3. Schnall, S. Are at that place basic metaphors? ( 2013 ) . In M. J. Landau, M. D. Robinson & A ; B. P. Meier ( Eds. ) , The power of metaphor: Analyzing its influence on societal life.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  4. hypertext transfer protocol: // term=metapho

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Metaphor and Architecture. (2016, Dec 06). Retrieved from