The Craft of Storytelling in Architecture

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In pursuing architecture and discourse as my territory of investigation, I came across the power of storytelling as a tool to give back the freedom of design to the residents, the neighborhoods, and the natural environment. As we would soon inhabit a world full of “refugees” from war, poverty, and climate, architecture is no longer a top-down device that only resembles the economical and political power of the elite class and its aesthetics but in need to better shelter every individual given their own conditions and tell the story from the bottom-up. The way finding to represent local stories spatially may rely on the creation of fictions that are designed persuasively to address real-world problems. The first strategy to unpack such a power of fictions was to first observe and see how culture(s) and their differences were presented in the built environment. Writing then becomes a powerful tool to free the imagination from blunt pictures and lead to multiple interpretations of similar urban conditions. By taking classes in Writing the City and Asian Cities, I began observing New York City and Asian Cities through the lens of a writer. In Writing the City, I was able to be physically presented in the urban environment and consolidate the observations into phrases and metaphors to portray the busy streets and building ornamentation. In Asian Cities, I learned the urban conditions through films and other people’s writings; interestingly, the observations through multi-media were also a new way to interpret the Euro-centric idealizations of Asian cities and seek a way to decolonize the local Asian cultures. Through these observations on cities, the creation of fictions was then consolidated into design studios in urban, landscape and building design. The architectural designs are all aimed to show how narratives and local stories give form of the buildings, and the building begins to inform a problem-solving process and mitigate certain concerns of the neighborhood, forming the bottom-up power of design to either represent a particular culture or generate a creative cultural reformation through spatial presence. Three aspects of urban analysis, interweaving writing and design, will then be presented in this book: urban ecology, urban diversity and urban playground.

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52 pages


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Architecture and Discourse


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Sabin, Jenny

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Kral, Katharina

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M.S., Architecture

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Master of Science

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Government Document




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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


dissertation or thesis

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