The Genre of Foyers in the Contemporary Highrise

A Study of Harry Seidler's Work


  • Robert James McMurtrie The University of New South Wales



genre, foyer, systemic functional linguistics, multimodal discourse analysis, Seidler


The term genre is usually associated with literary and filmic texts; however, this article also considers other communicative events such as foyers as text types. While it might seem quite obvious to note that the fundamental purpose of foyers is to shuttle users back and forth between the entrance and the elevator, it is more intriguing to discern the ways in which this function is achieved. By using the theoretical framework developed within the discipline of systemic functional linguistics and by employing the analytical tool of intertextuality, this article undertakes a comparative semiotic reading of the foyers of Harry Seidler’s corporate and residential highrises in Sydney, Australia, in order to explicate the generic structure of foyers, to elucidate the similarities and differences between his foyers and to foreground the ideological stance that Seidler has consistently taken throughout his oeuvre.L

Author Biography

Robert James McMurtrie, The University of New South Wales

Robert James McMurtrie is a PhD candidate at UNSW. His thesis investigates the ways in which people’s movement through spaces of a museum of contemporary art contributes to the grammar of architecture. His publications include: ‘Bobbing for power: An exploration into the modality of hair’ (2010) Visual Communication; ‘The meaning of [exiting]: Towards a grammaticalization of architecture’ (under review); ‘Binding contours: Feeling space dynamically’ (in press); and ‘Pathways: A social semiotic approach’ (under review).


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How to Cite

McMurtrie, R. (2011). The Genre of Foyers in the Contemporary Highrise: A Study of Harry Seidler’s Work. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 5(1), 59–91.