New to the Architecture Library this week is Sylvain De Bleeckere and Sebastiaan Gerards’ Narrative Architecture: A Designer’s Story. Focusing on four themes (thinking, imagining, educating, and designing), Narrative Architecture explores the underlying meanings of architecture, and the acts of thinking, listening, and learning that go into designing.
Bleeckere and Gerards explain that the book “is a designer’s story in which our personal experiences in our school of architecture, our critical study of some important texts…and our analysis of some paradigmatic artworks and films are rhizomatically interwoven” (pg. 3). They also examine how “it seems that architecture can speak and act like human actors do” (pg. 1). In each of the four chapters are summaries of major relevant philosophical works and theories, providing context and philosophical backing to prove the importance of each theme. By approaching the subject from this angle, Bleeckere and Gerards can better understand the motivations of architects, the thought that goes into the buildings they design, and what can be learned from the buildings themselves.
Narrative Architecture, ultimately, portrays architecture as a kind of storytelling, with architects as the storytellers. Every individual and every building had something to say. It is crucial to not only question what the architect reveals about the building, but what the building reveals about the architect, as well. The historical context of the architect, the space, and the building can unveil so much more than traditionally thought. If we let a building slowly divulge its narrative, then we too become a part of the story.