What place is this time? Semiotics and the analysis of historical reference in landschape architecture

K.A.M. van Assche, M. Duineveld, H.C. de Jong, A. van Zoest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper revisits the potential contribution of semiotic analysis to heritage design. A case study analyzes lay interpretations of a number of urban landscape designs, displaying different ways to refer to the invisible (archaeological) past. A total of 12 draft designs were produced referring to the past of three sites on the fringe of the Dutch city of Almere, and the various design options were discussed during in-depth interviews. A semiotic framework made it possible to grasp the structure and process of interpretation of the plans and their embedded historical references. It is demonstrated that categories of place routinely override categories of time in the interpretation of a historical reference and that designs (and therefore references) steeped in design tradition, or, more broadly, artistic tradition, are rarely understood by the potential users. Further, the study shows that the interplay of spatial, temporal and cultural context does not allow for an ideal strategy of historical reference, a design strategy that would work in every setting. Designing with heritage cannot be decoupled from context
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-254
JournalJournal of Urban Design
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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