Notes on Narrative Method in Historical Interpretation


  • K. Michael Hays



These notes are offered as a sketch of interpretive method. I suggest that the writing of architectural history is, or should be, a deeply theoretical sort of symptomatology – an account of how the very forms and experiences of architecture both construct and repress the absent thing we call the social, and are its most material symbolizations. Such an account benefits from an idea and a practice of narrative. Narrative is an ideological production that avoids any copy theories of representation even as it insists on the real, material forms and events that are its subject matter.

Author Biography

K. Michael Hays

K. Michael Hays is Eliot Noyes Professor of Architecture Theory at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Hays received his Master of Architecture in Advanced Studies from MIT in 1979, and a PhD at MIT in 1990. He was the editor of the architecture journal Assemblage (1986-2000) and of the readers Oppositions and Architecture Theory since 1968; he has written about Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer, and Hannes Meyer, as well as contemporary architectural theory.