Prospectus: Notes on Architecture and Writing

Naropa’s requirement for an MFA degree includes completing a creative manuscript and a critical thesis. Today I talked to Donald Preziosi about being my advisor for the critical thesis requirement. I gave him a copy of the prospectus of the paper I’m working on this term for Bhanu Kapil’s course. He seemed as excited about my topic as I am. My critical thesis will build on my paper last semester (Power of Story Form) and the paper this semester.

Last semester the paper I wrote turned out very different from the prospectus. As I read I my interests changed and evolved. I asked new questions. I expect the same to happen this semester, but this is a place to begin.

Title: Notes on Architecture and Writing

This paper will investigate metaphors that link architecture and writing. For example, the way failure ? is used in design to strengthen structures is a useful metaphor for writing techniques that abandon ? the story in order to reveal strengths, weaknesses, and alternative approaches.


  • How can various design techniques and architectural practices be incorporated into the writing process?
  • What are the issues that surround architects creating the spaces in which we live, and similarly what issues surround writers creating the spaces ? of our lives?
  • How do people interact with their environment? How is the interaction between characters and setting expressed in writing?
  • How does environment affect people? How does setting affect character?

Reading List:

Material Process by The Architectural League of New York

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard

Laws of Form by G. Spencer Brown

Architecture from the Outside by Elizabeth Grosz

The Universe in a Single Atom by H.H. Dalai Lama

The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel De Certeau

The Power of Place by Dolores Hayden

The Experience of Place by Tony Hiss

Architectures of Time by Sanford Kwinter

The Production of Space by H. Lefebvre

Massive Change by Bruce Mau

The Body and the City by Steve Pile

Brain of the Earth’s Body by Donald Preziosi

Warped Space by Anthony Vidler

Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience by Yi-Fu Tuan

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