Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


New Narrative Architecture

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


The machine-age aesthetic of Modernism is ill-fit for the post-industrial world. The ideology of consumerism presupposes a lack of consensus imagery, and the pluralism of an elusive, acquisition-oriented economy has impoverished the practice of architecture. The solution to this bankruptcy of architectural language is narrative. The vulgarity of some post-modern architecture was the necessary first steps toward an aesthetic re-calibration somewhere between the vacancies of Modernism and the endless strip mall colonnade. The mental triggers of narrative can far exceed the recalled imagery of the Roman forum, however. Our personal narratives are far more complex, and our buildings should reflect that. I am calling this reflection “New Narrative” architecture, derived from the writing movement of the same name. New Narrative authors acknowledge themselves, the reader, and each of their distinct places in time and space and explore these intertextual relationships. Architecture should do the same. The built environment has a profound, if not universal effect on the way we live our lives. “New Narrative” architecture acknowledges each of our stories while also subverting the control structures of forced consumer narratives while seeking an aesthetic re-calibration on the prosaic-poetic design spectrum.

This document is currently not available here.