Architect as writer of stories in 3D? Architecture meets Stephen King

After just returning from a recent holiday break (2 weeks in Cornwall as you’re asking) and completing a Stephen King ‘Holiday Read’ (The Dead Zone), I chose another (unread) King book on my return from the bookshelf (Cujo). One of the characters from The Dead Zone starts the story off in Cujo (Frank Dodd); Stephen King is well known for mentioning his other books in stories (Carrie is referenced in The Dead Zone) and he even makes an appearance as himself in The Dark Tower.

Where is this ramble leading? Well, King develops a story around characters, these characters are then put in different situations and hence the story develops. Sometimes the story has ‘more to say’ and another book develops either by characters or the story continuing. There’s probably a dozen books that have reference to The Dark Tower, of which The Stand is probably the best known. So what does this have to do with architecture? :

Think of a building as a story in three dimensions, every part of the building from the concept to the door handles should contribute to the ‘plot’ of the building.

The characters are the clients, each seeing their building project as their ‘story’. The benefit a fiction writer has is the ability to invent the characters rather than having to work with ‘real’ people in the ‘real’ world.

Each of the architects projects also contribute to the bigger story being told and if a story isn’t completely told in one project then you may see parts being resolved in the next.

Below are a few site photographs recently taken for house in progress:

So what story are we saying here?:

It was envisaged at the beginning that the three stone elements form a triangle from the road: garage, house porch and renovated cobblers cottage are all in locally sourced sandstone.

So our story is based on traditional values and this is continued in the design of the new house where the narrow depth echoes the traditional Irish cottage.

But balanced with tradition is the sub plot saying that this house is constructed in the 21st century which is shown in the large expanses of sliding glass doors to the south and the contemporary double height glazing to the west. The house is also constructed with 21st century products to increase insulation and reduce draughts.

So what is the next story to be told? I guess that comes with the client and the architects ideal project is where architect and client want to tell the same story.

Comments as always welcome…


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