Delft courses in city&literature


December 2011

The course City&Literature, taught since 2006 at the Faculty of Architecture in Delft, offers ways to use writing as a creative and critical tool to approach architectural and urban questions. The use of literary exercises allows heightening students’ perceptual receptivity and awareness of spatial experience, while the continuous exchange between the different modes of operating provides new means for site research and design.

The course consists of  a theory seminar, which introduces a selection of key literary texts on cities, by authors such as Walter Benjamin, Georges Perec and Italo Calvino, and which discusses how architects have used literary influences in their work, alongside a series of creative writing exercises. By looking at the city and architecture from various (literary) perspectives, the students are encouraged to develop new methods in both site analysis and design. The creative writing exercises begin with drawing attention to other senses than the visual, and moves from the observational to the imaginary when the design projects come into play. By means of such writing exercises, students in the course gain critical knowledge about their own design, and are able to alter or sharpen their design decisions. In the last stage of the course, the seminar group takes the form of an editorial board of a magazine. The group decides how to collect the theoretical reflections and the results of creative writing exercises in a magazine, which is presented to visiting critics at the last session.

Results of previous semesters.

ES/Experience of Space. the magazine of the space in words. Journal produced by students as a result  of the master course City&Literature 2007-08.

Beyond the Surface. Architectural Reflections of Body and Mind.Journal produced by students  City&Literature 2008-09.

Written City. Nine Visions. Journal produced by students City&Literature 2009-10.

A Dictionary of Home. Collection of poems and short texts. Students City&Literature 2010-2011.