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Why architects should mind their language

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I have read the aj for 15 years and I begin to wonder if most architects haven't grasped something that I, as an author, think is quite important: language is supposed to carry meaning.

I shan't bore you with a litany of examples; no need to set your real- world deflectors on max. But I must insist that Zaha Hadid's explanation (aj 4.3.99) of her visitor centre in Weil am Rhein is quite ridiculous. She suggests that the building 'literally bleeds out and dissolves into the surrounding landscape'. It simply does not, and cannot, in any sense, do those things. For Ms Hadid to amplify her remark with the word 'literally' adds to the absurdity.

Interesting buildings invariably, and obviously, carry impacts and meanings that cannot easily be expressed in words. Architects, of all people, should know this. Is there really any need for them to cut-and-paste extra layers of utterly bogus imagery to their work?

Jay Merrick


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