What Is Ambiguity?

Decent Essays

Such deconstructed forms make architecture complex and many contradictory meanings get generated. As Robert Venturi says in his essay “Complexity and contradiction” such contradictions in the architecture of a certain building make it ambiguous.
Now what exactly is ambiguity? Something is called ambiguous when it can have multiple interpretations. But what is the threshold between ambiguity and vagueness? Ambiguity shouldn’t be confused with vagueness. Ambiguity can be seen when a sound doesn’t result in popping of only a single image in your head. For example, “bank” can be pictured as the bank of the river or as the financial organization. Sometimes there is ambiguity in the way a sentence is structured and then it can be read in multiple …show more content…

The chapel seems to denote different things simultaneously. The form as a whole has multiple interpretations. It can be read as two hands praying, a duck, a ship, etc. Another example is the Villa Savoye which can create the image of a machine and at the same time it may look like a crawling insect. Maybe the architect didn’t intend to generate these meanings but they get generated because as humans we always tend to connect complex forms with something that we have knowledge of. This helps us make sense and maneuver in the complex space of architecture. Thus ambiguity is evident here and it is not vagueness because of the fact that in vagueness there is indecision whether one should connect some characteristics with a building or not but in ambiguity there occurs indecision because you don’t know which of the two meanings should be attributed. Ambiguity is a question of “this or that”. Ambiguity can also exist when a building is interpreted differently from different angles. But then in this case one doesn’t necessarily need to choose which of the many meanings holds true, for the meanings can co-exist which is the very realm of ambiguity. Should architecture mean only one thing or should it be intriguing where every time you pass the same building you generate different readings of that very building? Ambiguity allows for the existence of an architecture where a story is never told all at once but you dissect it thread by thread, element by element as you

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