Architecture and the Capriccio: Searching for Spatial Narrativity in Southern Italy

Elaine Ryan Content 01
Model of 'Time'

How can memory, imagination and narrative be used to explore the potential and depict the complexity of architectural sites? 

Architecture is naturally imbued with narratives; it exists within a discourse and physical environment which infiltrate every building with stories. In today’s climate of architectural practice, narrative is too often used as an afterthought or selling-point for a design rather than being deeply interrogated during the design process.

Elaine Ryan Content 10
Abstraction of site

This thesis draws upon narrativity, the grand tour, imagination, and the domestic ruin to explore the potential of spatial narrativity in architecture. This is achieved by using the phenomenon of ‘one-euro homes’ which have emerged over recent decades in Italy. Such homes serve as vehicles for the exploration of narrativisation of space. The thesis uses the painting style of the architectural capriccio to design an architectural narration which navigates the intersection of the author’s mental grand tour to Italy, and the actuality of place.

Elaine Ryan Content 03
Concept model for 'The Child'
Elaine Ryan Content 08
Media exploration of site
Elaine Ryan Content 02
Model of 'The Prisoner'

A series of interventions are imagined through the lens of seven characters: the child, the traveller, the elder, the prisoner, the farmer, the student, and time. Each design will draw upon various literary works and accounts of the grand tour. They will apply historical and cultural precedents to inform a theoretical design which seeks to tell a spatial narrative. As part of this, fabric is examined for its temporal and phenomenological qualities. These designs will contribute to a ‘capriccio’ which tells an imaginative account of place, serving to reinvigorate the existing site.

Elaine Ryan Content 04
Lounge for 'The Student'
Elaine Ryan Content 09
Elaine Ryan Content 07
Studiolo of 'The Traveller'
Elaine Ryan Content 06
Elaine Ryan Content 05