Thesis Defence: Holland YoungExport this event to calendar

Friday, March 27, 2015 — 10:00 AM EDT
Of the thesis entitled: Building Fiction: The Architecture of Narrative in Harry Potter
 

Abstract:

“Lived space is space that is inseparably integrated with the subject’s concurrent life situation.  We do not live separately in material and mental worlds; these experiential dimensions are fully intertwined.  Neither do we live in an objective world.  We live in mental worlds, in which the experienced, remembered and imagined, as well as the past, present and future are inseparably intermixed.”                 
Juhani Pallasmaa, The Architecture of Image, p. 18
 
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”                                                 
 J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, p. 579
 
A person does not experience architecture as a purely physical construct.  Lived space transcends mere materiality, as each individual experiences the world outside oneself through the unique filter of one’s own mind.  In this way, architecture becomes subjective: influenced by the memories and imagination of its viewers, who use the physical realm as a take-off point from which to shape their own environments within the context of their respective psyches.  Fictional architecture (or the architecture of narrative) uses this same concept to build the environments in film and literature; although, in these cases, the cues given to an audience are images, sounds and/or words rather than three-dimensional space.
 
The term ‘architecture of narrative’, as used in this thesis, refers to the architecture of books and films which must rely on imaginary environments.  This type of architecture is free of the strict rules and regulations which govern built form in the corporeal world.  However, in order for an audience to relate to and engage with these imaginary environments, they must employ boundaries which give the fictional realm stability, coherence and continuity.  When these boundaries are applied successfully, the viewer experiences an immersion in narrative space which generates memories of place which are comparable to that of a physical environment.
 
This thesis seeks to explore how storytellers use overlapping real and fictional architectural environments in order to propel narrative and precipitate an immersive experience for an audience, using the acclaimed Harry Potter series as the primary vehicle for exploration.  The thesis will study the narrative and architectural typologies, physical settings, imagined spaces and film technologies used to connect the viewer to the narrative’s highly detailed world.  Through this examination, the thesis will attempt to determine the philosophical role architecture plays in the Harry Potter universe, commenting on the ways fictional environments can be used to reframe an audience’s existing notions of the corporeal world, and looking at the psychological reasons so many individuals are drawn to the setting of this particular series.              
 

The examining committee is as follows:

Supervisor:

Committee Members:

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Tracey Winton, University of Waterloo
 
Vincent Hui, Ryerson University   
 
 

External Reader:

Valérie C. Kaelin, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University

 



The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.


The Defence Examination will take place:  

Friday March 27, 2015
10:00AM

Cummings Lecture Theatre


A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.

Location 
ARC - School of Architecture
Cummings Lecture Theatre
7 Melville Street South

Cambridge, ON N1S 2H4
Canada

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