The Tradition of Spatial Writing: The Case of the Palindrome in between Literature and Architecture


  • Sotirios Varsamis



In this work I define as spatial writing a kind of writing that could be expressed spatially in text and textually in architecture and that includes examples from both text and buildings. In that sense spatial writing is related not only to literary theory but also to architecture, architectural writing or ‘architecture writing’. 

In the first part of my paper I outline very briefly the tradition of spatial writing in literary theory, but the main focus is on how text is treated spatially and architecturally within such a theory. 

In the second part I focus on the palindrome as a specific kind of spatial writing and examine how its geometric poetic form stands in between the disciplines of literature and architecture. From the two examples I study the first is taken from literature and is a palindromic poetic composition from a 1745 pamphlet entitled Coelum Orbis Teutonici, and the second from architecture and looks at palindrome’s use as inscriptions at fountains and thresholds.

Author Biography

Sotirios Varsamis

Sotirios Varsamis is an architect (PhD, MSc, Dipl.-Ing, TCG) with a long and diverse background in architectural design, product design and interdisciplinary research with a specialisation in Architectural History & Theory. He holds a PhD in Architecture and a MSc in Architectural History & Theory by the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL completed with a full time scholarship for post-graduate studies in Architectural History by the Hellenic State’s Scholarship Foundation (IKY). He has presented and exhibited his design and theory work at various seminars and conferences in the U.K. and abroad.