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Sustainability in architectural design projects – a semiotic understanding


Sustainability in architectural design projects – a semiotic understanding

Goubran, Sherif ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2365-0351 (2019) Sustainability in architectural design projects – a semiotic understanding. Social Semiotics . pp. 1-27. ISSN 1035-0330

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2019.1681062


The potential of semiotics to theorize and analyze the field of sustainable architecture is still largely unexplored. This paper uses a triadic structure for defining sustainable design signs and distinguishes two separate modes of sustainable design reasoning: namely deductive and abductive sustainable design reasoning. This theoretical framework is used to analyze two architectural projects submitted for an international design competition in Montreal, Canada. The architectural texts, considered in this paper the representamen of the signs, prove to be indicative of the mode of reasoning deployed. The analysis also reveals that the mode of reasoning used dictates the types of signs produced, the role designed-objects have in the signs, as well as the functional possibilities design elements perform in the project. The paper proposes that deductive sustainable design reasoning brings to a halt the process of semiosis – presenting a status-quo approach – and that abductive sustainable design reasoning allows semiosis ad infinitum – presenting a future driven outlook. Additionally, a gap appeared between the open form of critical judgement proposed for competitions and the conceptual fixation inherit in deductive sustainable design reasoning. This paper presents a theoretical contribution that provides new possibilities for researchers to model and analyze sustainability in design projects.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Article
Authors:Goubran, Sherif
Journal or Publication:Social Semiotics
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1080/10350330.2019.1681062
ID Code:986061
Deposited On:29 Nov 2019 18:51
Last Modified:04 May 2021 01:00
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