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The integration of images into architecture presentations: a semiotic analysis

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In the discipline of architecture, images are central in the development of ideas and the communication of designs. This article focuses on the role of visual communication in a spoken academic genre the architecture presentation. A set of analytical techniques drawn from linguistics (Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996) was used to investigate ten first-year architecture presentations in an attempt to understand first, the role of images and second, how novice students cope with the demands of a multimodal semiosis, namely the integrating of images, words and actions into a unified speech. The analysis was focused on three areas: the conventions and rhetorical effects of individual images; the composition of simultaneously displayed images; and the interaction between speakers and their images. The third stage was pivotal in distinguishing successful from unsuccessful presentations. It is argued that a semiotic analysis of architectural presentations can contribute to improved pedagogical practice in the architecture studio, and has broader implications for an understanding of visual-oriented discourses.

Keywords: architectural design education; multimodal semiosis; student presentations; visual analysis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Melbourne.

Publication date: November 17, 2006

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