Decoding the City

Decoding in my own words is the process of transferring and simplifying information, date into a format that is easier to understand. And in the case of week 7 lecture, Decoding would be defined as using information that we know of a place or building and details to understand it, the way its built, the history behind and its story.
In this week’s lecture, we try to decode cities as by using the details, its surrounding to help us verify the type of building we were looking at, and estimated age, and its the location. In the weeks before, as we had a quick brief of certain periods in history, this had gave us a bit of the skill and knowledge needed to do this.
To decode a building or a space, we must begin to understand the social content of architecture and how the building/space function at a collective level. To understand buildings and to be able to decode them, you have to understand architecture, the difference between architecture and buildings and its historical background to be able to know the story of that building/space.
The weeks before where we explored different time periods, which introduced me to the development of architecture styles can be seen as a gaining knowledge needed to be able to recognized different details and configuration used in buildings in those eras to be able to distinguish between them now in the present. For example, for the medieval period, a lot of architecture were based on the churches, cathedrals and large buildings for professionals. These buildings incorporated different styles and details in them, such as the gothic style which was known for using a lot of ornaments in its construction and for having a lot of details such as the details on the pointed arch windows which were also know to be of gothic style in the medieval period. So when looking at a building with these characteristics, we can begin to assume which style and era of time it belongs to.
To be able to decode buildings, it helps to be knowledgeable of its history, when you are aware of the history, you’ll be able to decode the building much better as in a case where the building might have been destroyed and rebuilt, with history, you would have known this and would be able to decode and understand the building much easier without confusing yourself or others.
With reference to the Journal article, “Interpreting the personality of London” where the tour guides said that they can look at London and see the places and buildings that were there at a point of time , this is thanks to different history books or journals that they have read and it having painting a clear picture I their mind. With insight from other reading materials, a person will be better at understanding buildings and places he comes in contact with, whether its there or not, he will be able to tell the difference.
I believe in also travelling in order to be able to decode certain cities. In some cases, there needs to be face to face interaction to be able to understand a building. And travelling and experience difference places instills you with knowledge of place, and what I mean by this is that when you travel and go to Barcelona and analyze their architecture and then go to another country and notice differences and in some cases similarities, it helps in decoding different architecture because of the knowledge of place you’ve obtained over time and you know what to look for and what should be and what should not be there.
In Conclusion, you need knowledge, knowledge of place, history, architecture history, and pay keen attention to the smallest details.

• Adam Reed, (March 2000), Vol. 8, No.1, pp. 127-141, “City of Details: Interpreting the personality of London”, Online, http//, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
• Hanson Julienne, (1999), “Decoding Homes and Houses”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

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