On the Interpretation of Architecture
Theory of Interpretation

Vol. 12, No. 2, December 2008


___Eduard Heinrich Führ
& Robert J. Miller


    What is interpretation? By what criteria does one judge an interpretive process? Does interpretation mean to transubstantiate, or merely to translate a building into words? Is the process of interpretation visual, intellectual, or physical? Is the methodological aim of interpretation to explain, to sympathize, to “read”, to reconstruct, to deconstruct, or to understand? Should interpretation be based on experience, appropriation, use, or dwelling? Whose voice matters?

Shouldn’t interpretation in architecture extricate itself from analogies with, and loans from, other disciplines, especially given that architecture is a unique discipline, a complex medium, and a specific practice? Can architecture be reduced to its visual appearance, its physical being, or its performative use? Is it possible to verify an interpretation?

Is it actually necessary to interpret, or, is interpretation arbitrary and injurious to the work, an exaggeration and sublimation of the actual facts?