ARCH 603 – Mascontext – Issue 13: Architectural narrative

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Uncategorized | No Comments
ARCH 603 – Mascontext – Issue 13: Architectural narrative

On Architectural marketing

Architects merely want to show wide shots of their building and keep hammering, “This is the building, this is the building.” John Humphreys, creative director at The Neighborhood, also deplores this disproportional focus on the actual building. Architects, he says, treat architecture as an objective thing and merely give facts (“Here is the door, it’s got ten floors”), whereas they entirely fail to tell a story about that building, to focus on the beautiful elements and to build a bit of mystery and intrigue.

Archiporn or Storylines?

Advertising experts and architects, in other words, strongly diverge regarding the type of information to be communicated in their films: the former are often selling a single concept of convenience or luxury, whereas the latter rather wish to get so many building details across that it hardly leaves any latitude for more narrative or so-called “lifestyle” elements. At Squint/Opera, they invented the notion of “archiporn” to denote extreme examples of films with “slowly moving cameras, showing very orchestrated empty spaces, lovingly caressing bits of architecture.”

Creative architectural commercial

Films that contain a clear narrative, more “lifestyle elements” than visualizations, and that display an awareness for the stories behind architecture such as its historic, cultural or social context as well as the identity of its (potential) users. Creative architectural commercials merited closer attention because of their affinities to advertising, their depth in terms of content as well as their various levels of meaning. It seems that creative architectural commercials have the capacity to bridge between traditionally distinctive areas of the architectural world, between a market-oriented architecture and a more visionary, artistically oriented architecture.

“The story of Straw” (comissioned by Make Architects) is a good example of a strongly narrative-driven architectural film.


Questioning the of the relationships/border of the disciplines

Architecture – Storytelling – New way of representing architecture – Graphic novels & narrative-driven architectural film.

From the interview Mascontext with TomKaczynski

The interaction of architecture and fiction is something that is coming to the front nowadays. Do you feel comics (fiction, narrative, graphic nanative) can be a
tool to analyze and explore architecture, and to speculate on the design of architecture and the city?

I think comics are underutilized as a medium for criticism. So much of architecture critique is word-based. Images are often used, but there’s something that isn’t done in comics, which is criticism. I think there is potential for that. I do a little bit of that myself in Cartoon Dialectics and Trans Terra, but I’m just dipping my toes.


Potential precedent studies:

1/ Citizens of no place – Jimenex Lai

2/ Yes is more – Big Architect.

3/Building stories – Chris Ware.

4/ Kartun the view – Jones, Partners: Architecture, Mark Simmons and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

5/ Archigram – Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron…

6/ Bricks & Balloons: Architecture in Comic-Strip Form. – Melanie, van de Hoorn