Sails, by Rogers

The 50th post on the Eikongraphia Blog is something special. The iconography of the sails of sailboats has been so far the most popular one. It is also one of the most succesful one, with iconic predecessors like the Sydney Opera House and the Dubai Burj Al Arab Hotel.

The new Law Courts of Antwerp by Richard Rogers Partnership that has just been finished again uses the iconography of sails. A choice that was motivated by its location near the Schelde water.

Richard Rogers - Law Courts Antwerp 1

Richard Rogers - Law Courts Antwerp 2

As iconography goes, the Rogers-building does not only refer to sails. Incidentally the strange forms might also trigger associations that were not planned. As for instance Dominique Pieters of de Architect notices; “… the dragon-teeth on the roof raises the question whether or not the demand for a ‘not frigthening effect’ has been met.” The policy of the government in Belgium with Law Courts is to make them ‘transparant and open’, instead of imposing and monumental.

The iconography of the building does not only refer to the teeth of dragons and sharks, also to the knobs of dragons. On the other hand there are more cute references to the hats of gnomes and the seven dwarfs.



Shark Mouth

Snowwhite and the seven dwarfs

In more detail the form of the roof triggers again other associations. Depending on the angle that you look at the building, the iconography shifts.

Richard Rogers - Law Courts Antwerp 3

Richard Rogers - Law Courts Antwerp 4

It looks like the fins of sharks, or maybe even the horns of a devil. That last reference is almost too ironic for a Law Court.

Shark Fin

Denis Rodman as devil

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