VOL: 9 NO: 2  1-21  2012-2


The role of metaphors in the formation of architectural identity




Cyprus International University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Lefkoþa, TRNC


Received: January 2011       Final Acceptance: May 2012






As is the case in every other field of art, the purpose of architecture is to reveal a unique situation which has never been experienced before and broaden the feelings, thoughts and imagination of human beings. Considering that the concepts of identity and uniqueness are close enough to be used for the same meaning, the main purpose of architecture can be defined as designing a building which has a certain identity. Metaphors seem to be quite beneficial instruments compared to several other methods and approaches applied by architects in order to achieve this purpose. Design problems are defined as “wicked” problems which are too complex to be solved with completely linear, rational, logical methods and with a certain algorithm and require considering both objective and subjective aspects of the problem at the same time and with creativity. Metaphors, defined as “imaginative rationality” appear to be quite appropriate tools for solving such problems since they unite rationality and imagination.  


This paper has two interconnected purposes. The primary purpose is to determine the effective role played by metaphors during the design processes of distinguished and referred buildings which have strong identities both in the past and in recent architecture. The secondary purpose is to indicate the capability of a design approach based on metaphors to meet the demand for architecture with identity and overcome the increasing monotonousness in the man-made environment.


Keywords: Architectural identity, metaphor, homospatial thinking, identity formation, metamorphosis


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