Function of Fiction
function of fiction Like a dream, architecture is always experienced but must be recounted to be understood. Though it is clear that the material of architecture may be other, we must rely upon language to communicate and express our intentions. Indeed, architecture has often been paired with, or understood through the lens of narrative theories and linguistics. The intention of this seminar is not to provide a survey of such analyses, but rather to look carefully at the development of a positive hermeneutics in relation to an understanding of narrative, fiction, and translation. It is my wager that each of these topics may then enrich our collective understanding and approach to making architecture. 

It is obvious that a building is not text and a work of fiction is not the same as built form. Both, however, hold the capacity to make a world and to ground one’s actions. Interestingly, much of the language used to describe each, float between the two worlds: One “reads” architectural plans. One discusses the “structure” of a novel. One “plots” drawings in an architectural office. Part of our human condition is the ability to understand our existing situation and to contemplate other worlds. This ability to synthesize our diverse everyday experiences into cogent praxis is common to both architects and writers. The task of the architect and writer then, may be to contemplate possible realities and real possibilities. This is what the seminar will explore.

The readings, discussions, and productions through this semester will flesh out the nature of architecture and narrative and specifically discuss issues regarding this analogous relationship. The intention is to critically develop an attitude towards architecture as well as the specific ramifications and potentials that exist within the relationship between architecture and narrative. For example: What are the relationships between the author and the architect? A text and a built work? What is the architectural analogue to plot development? Can a building be a mystery or a noir? What can be learned about how one experiences architecture from one’s experience of reading? What are the similarities and differences?