The transformation of architectural narrative from literature to cinema: Differences, continuities and limits of representation in different media

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015




The prosperity of an architectural design cannot be evaluated only by its physical functionality, but requires the consideration of its fictional and representative power. The latter feature of architecture is an essential component of design both as an input and as an outcome. In fact, this feature is the main reason that architecture is an inseparable part of any fiction, that is related with people let it be a story, a movie, a commercial or a political discourse, etc. Besides being a sole part, architecture engages with fiction and this engagement can be functionalized in different manners by art and other disciplines. The aim of this study is to understand the differences, continuities and limits of architectural representation in three different disciplines, architecture, literature and cinema. Understanding the functionality of architecture and conceptualization of space in different narrations can be utilized both as an alternative input in architectural design and as a model in architectural criticism. The main discussion is executed through a case study in order to have a concrete discussion ground within the scope of this study. L’ecumé des Jours by Boris Vian (Foam of the Daze, 1947), and consequently, its 2013 adaptation Mood Indigo by Michel Gondry, are selected as the case. Initially, the study is based on discussions on narration, narrative and representation, in architecture, literature and cinema, in order to understand the similarities and differences between the concepts of time, movement and space. Using these concepts, a comparative analysis table is created to compare the literary architectural narrative with visual architectural narrative. The outcomes of these comparisons are inserted as data for seven different, yet inter-linked, comparisons and analysis tables. A number of keywords, which are usage density (experiencing space and usage frequency as sub kinds), spatial continuity-discontinuity, temporal continuitydiscontinuity and continuity-discontinuity of the narrative, are utilized to set a model for reading architectural narrative. Such alternative readings establish a ground to understand the narrative and cultural based conceptualization of space.