Timescapes: A Narrative Architecture

Master’s Degree Project 2023

The thesis proposal Timescapes is a journey through time and space that communicates feelings and experiences concerning heritage and place. It investigates how stories can produce architecture, and how architecture produces stories. The proposal also investigates the meaning and function of time in a narrative. Architecture is not literature or film but is inevitably compelled by both. Narrative exists in countless forms and mediums, and each can assist in making architecture meaningful. Narrative and architecture are inseparable.

When proposing architecture, narrative is always present. Architects enthusiastically depend on narrative to describe their projects. Even so, the research and analyses on utilization of narrative in architecture are sparse. Narrative is a powerful tool when making something meaningful. Architecture conducts the narrative of experience in the built environment. In the past, architects were also responsible for allocating meaning to it. By adopting Roland Barthes’ introduction to the structural analysis of narratives as a method, the principal works of Bernard Tschumi and Nigel Coates are studied as narratives. Formerly, they taught architecture together, in a unit based on literary work. Their respective subsequent work aptly becomes the scope of analysis. Separate approaches are distinguished and reformulated into one. Employing the combined approach to narrative architecture, the thesis proposal aims to produce an architecture with narrative as both process and outcome.

Time is a destructive force, and the function of time in a narrative is studied in this thesis. In other words, temporality is used as a narrative function. Supported by Aristotle, Lévi-Strauss, and Mallarmé, temporality is defined as a structural class of narrative, as time only exists functionally in a narrative. This is called the illusion of chronology in narrative syntax. By introducing temporality as a functional narrative unit when presenting and producing architecture, the thesis proposal presents a new potential design parameter.

Starting from an initial interest in displacement of heritage, the thesis proposal uses stories and narrative to explore relationships between heritage, time, and place. Architecture and narrative are inseparable, and this work is a contribution to the study of their enigmatic relationship. Timescapes is an ambiguous journey through time and space.

Studio 10: DISPLACEMENT – The Global Challenge, 22/23
Teaching Team: Amalia Katopodis, Prof. Robert Mull and Sangram Shirke

Richard Lövby

Architecture Programme, Studio 10
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The Cabins

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The Net

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The Lighthouse

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Inside The Lighthouse