Lighthouse: Dwelling on a Remote Island. A Bachelor Diploma Project within a Narrative Framework

  • Mark Proosten RWTH Aachen University
  • Katrin Recker RWTH Aachen University


Within this article, a curious storyteller will guide our way to remotely situated islands and their marvellous stories and stubborn inhabitants, invented by students. In the summer of 2016, the bachelor diploma students of the department of Wohnbau at the RWTH-Aachen University were asked to develop a dwelling for a lighthouse keeper, a house with a beacon. Within this article, we aim to give an insight into the project’s boundaries, by describing the project brief and our tutoring approach.

With this article and the introduction of our own curious narrator, we intend to show how our approach has resulted in a great variety of narrated tales that were combined with profound building techniques and methods. The literary framework of the assignment, departing from a place that could not be visited and from a particular character, made the student's observations and readings of both programme and context extremely focused.

The students explored their islands and treated the challenges for their protagonist to dwell on them in an accurate manner. They became sensitive to basic conditions of dwelling, such as landscape, climate, materials, building methods, and applied these conditions in their distinctive and tangible design solutions. In addition, the game rules of the entire project, in combination with the detailed requirements for the final presentation, helped to examine the skills and knowledge we deem indispensable to obtaining the bachelor’s degree. The students gained the understanding necessary to handle a relatively small architectural design project from concept to detail through imagining their own narrative framework and making their unique design of a lighthouse the starring role of their very peculiar and fantastic story.


Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will (New York: Penguin Random House, 2010)

Author Biography

Mark Proosten, RWTH Aachen University

Mark Proosten (editor) graduated as an architect in 2011 at Eindhoven University of Technology. Upon graduation he started working as an independent architect in the region of Maastricht in the Netherlands.  Since October 2013 he has been working as an assistant to Prof. Wim van den Bergh within the chair of Wohnbau at RWTH Aachen University. He is a guest teacher in the Master of Interior Architecture programme at ArtEZ in Zwolle and lectures at the Maastricht Academy of Architecture. Mark is one of the contributors to Writingplace laboratory for architecture and literature. His research focusses on mid-century modernism in Scandinavia and North America, in which he is pursuing a PhD upon the topic of the so-called Utzonian houses of the Danish architect Jørn Utzon. His teaching and writing is devoted to narratives in general and the relationship between architecture and literature in particular.

How to Cite
PROOSTEN, Mark; RECKER, Katrin. Lighthouse: Dwelling on a Remote Island. A Bachelor Diploma Project within a Narrative Framework. Writingplace, [S.l.], n. 1, p. 113-126, apr. 2018. ISSN 2589-7691. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 16 june 2019. doi: