Literary Concepts in Architecture // Johanna Presse

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Johanna Presse
Course of Study:
Master of Science
Wolfgang Zeh Dipl.-Ing.
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Anne-Julchen Bernhardt
Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Alexander Markschies
Chair for Building Typologies

The thesis "Literary Concepts in Architecture" deals with similarities between the construction of a story and a building, as well as similarities between design strategies in literature and architecture. Furthermore, it poses the question of whether buildings can tell a story. The starting point for this work was the observation that both in writing and reading books and in designing buildings, our imagination creates a fictional reality.

These fundamental questions are examined based on six projects, three of which are novels and three of which are architectural projects. In the analysis of the selected projects, a comparative perspective is adopted by applying seven points of analysis from literature equally to the architectural projects and the novels.

By developing conceptual models, the design construction of the projects is examined. The models developed from the novels make their narrative structure and spatial dimension visible. The concept models for the architectural projects, on the other hand, represent an interpretation of the architecture as a novel. The basis for these models were novel concepts based on the structure, atmosphere, and thematic content of the architecture.

The final design aims to blur the boundaries between the two disciplines. The content of the design is novel fragments derived from architecture as well as spatial representations derived from a novel. In this way, the source works are reversed into the respective other discipline and a juxtaposition of text and image is created. The Therme Vals and the novel Austerlitz were chosen as the focus for this project. The design consists of three scenes each, which are placed in the context of the overarching structure of the concept model or the novel concept.

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