Reading Architecture: Literary Imagination and Architectural Experience

June 16- June 18, 2016
Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece
Organized by Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Angeliki Sioli, and Yoonchun Jung


On June 16 of 2016, a Bloomsday, the Architectural History and Theory option opened the symposium “Reading Architecture” in the heart of Athens, Greece. The symposium focused on the interdisciplinary connections between architecture and literature. In the three days of its duration, the participants discussed how literary works such as novels, short stories, and poetry could be inherently connected with architectural research, practice, and pedagogy. The speakers and participants debated the importance of poetic language for architectural production and education.


The keynote speakers included Caroline Dionne, Phoebe Giannisi, Klaske Havik, Mari Lending, Franco Pisani, and David Spurr. The acting responders Panos Leventis, Louise Pelletier, and Christos Kakalis further enriched the discussions. Overall, the participants and speakers discussed architectural experiences portrayed evocatively in literature alongside their capacities to open inquisitive paths to study qualitative, emotional, and embodied apprehensions of the built environment. The event took place at the Benaki Museum’s small theater, under the auspices of the Greek Institute for Architecture. The symposium also hosted several convivial social gatherings with Mediterranean food and wine under the nocturnal light of the Parthenon. 

Two years later, a publication with the same name was released (Routledge, 2018) featuring selected and further-developed contributions from the symposium and contributions from other academics with expertise on the topic. The book is organized under four sections through a rigorous study of literary works, positions on Architectural Research, Architectural Design and Pedagogy, Contemporary Architectural Reality and Practice, Familiar and Unfamiliar Places. 

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