Skip to main content


Narrative Architecture

Nigel Coates

ISBN: 978-1-119-96306-6 December 2012 168 Pages


The first book to look architectural narrative in the eye

Since the early eighties, many architects have used the term "narrative" to describe their work. To architects the enduring attraction of narrative is that it offers a way of engaging with the way a city feels and works. Rather than reducing architecture to mere style or an overt emphasis on technology, it foregrounds the experiential dimension of architecture. Narrative Architecture explores the potential for narrative as a way of interpreting buildings from ancient history through to the present, deals with architectural background, analysis and practice as well as its future development.

  • Authored by Nigel Coates, a foremost figure in the field of narrative architecture, the book is one of the first to address this subject directly
  • Features architects as diverse as William Kent, Antoni Gaudí, Eero Saarinen, Ettore Sottsass, Superstudio, Rem Koolhaas, and FAT to provide an overview of the work of NATO and Coates, as well as chapters on other contemporary designers
  • Includes over 120 colour photographs

Signposting narrative's significance as a design approach that can aid architecture to remain relevant in this complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-everything age, Narrative Architecture is a must-read for anyone with an interest in architectural history and theory.

Preface 008

Chapter 1 The Long Perspective 013

Chapter 2 Radical Terrain 033

Chapter 3 NATO 055

Chapter 4 Story Buildings 080

Chapter 5 Practice in Person 112

Chapter 6 Pure ‘Narrativity’ 132

Epilogue 158

Bibliography 162

Index 164