What do the city of Venice, Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital, Carlo Scarpa’s projects and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities have in common? Why do many writers think that narrative, fiction and architectures intersections? In this lecture I will explore design techniques that order our experience of time and space in architecture and cities, and their analogical relationships with language, narrative and fiction. In doing so I aim to illustrate that architects, like writers who find a productive analogy between architecture and narrative, can envisage their designs as narrative universes, systems of actual and alternative worlds that question norms of behaviour, social order and experience.
Professor Sophia Psarra is the author of The Venice Variations, addressing cities and buildings as multi-authored processes of formation alongside individual design intentions. Her book Architecture and Narrative explores the relationships between design conceptualization, narrative and human cognition, and her edited book The Production Sites of Architecture investigates the processes of knowledge production in the design and experience of buildings. She was the convenor of the Parliament Buildings Conference (with the UCL European Institute), a multidisciplinary event exploring the exercise of political power and the parliamentary spaces within which it is mediated. She has collaborated with leading cultural institutions in the UK and the US on the relationships between architecture, exhibition design and visitor experience. Her architectural work has been exhibited internationally in the context of first prizes in EUROPAN competitions and the Venice Biennale (1991). Sophia is the Director of History and Theory PhD programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and has taught undergraduate/graduate studios and seminars at The Bartlett, University of Michigan, Cardiff University and the University of Greenwich.