Onomastics / names and naming : the Tektonomastics Project

I recently learned of a field of study called onomastics, the study of names (how perfect) there are also has sub-disciplines: geonomastics or toponomastics (the naming of places) and anthroponomastics (the study of personal names). I wondered if there was a field of research that investigated the more specific naming of houses. While waiting on a couple of onomastics books to arrive at the library, I came across the Tektonomastics project.

“Tektonomastics” is a made-up word, combining “tekto-” — Greek for “building” — with “onomastics” — the study of the history and origin of proper names. [1]

For this project Haruka Horiuchi and Frank Hebbert created a new word, Tektonomastics, to describe their field of inquiry – the origin of building names. Their project entails the mapping of named residential buildings in New York both through their own efforts and through crowdsourcing.

This article from Daily Design Idea details their criteria for inclusion and the process they have developed. I really like how they have presented their data both in the map and inventory, and the visualisation of their taxonomy of building names is inspired. Its provided me with a great deal of inspiration for the Dunedin Flat Names Project.


Taxonomy of residential buildings in New York

It is not surprising, but by looking at this visual representation of their taxonomy I can immediately see the student flats of Dunedin have quite a different taxonomy – what is evident is that naming a building provides a sense of identity and belonging.




[1] Tektonomastics: the building names project


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