Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2021

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Arief Setiawan

Secondary Advisor

Chris Welty


How can stories be told through architectural space? For millennia, humanity has told stories, passing narratives down from generation to generation through dance, song, sculpture, and other art forms.

Today, architecture is conceptualized as a series of characters: form, space, program, materials, codes; characters that are then stitched together to generate a design. Yet in the current era of architectural formulation, there is a dereliction in the importance and beauty from the previous ages.

Through examining historical precedents that communicate a narrative, this research outlined techniques of metaphor, allegory, and symbol that translate a story into architecture. Primarily, allegory was the technique that I further explored, defined by the Dictionary of Critical Theory as, “A form of narrative or visual image whose literal or obvious meaning masks one or more other meanings, often with a didactic purpose.”1

I took “Stairway to Heaven”, a 1970’s rock song by Led Zeppelin.2 It’s an allegory about a journey of an individual, and a layered acceleration of instruments that ultimately climax and crash to realize that the person was never included in the accent. This story, composed of a musical crescendo and a lyrical narrative, illustrates a popular example of story-telling through song.

With the song as the stimulus, diagrams were employed to conceptualize architectural space that tells the story; the diagram is a two-dimensional and three-dimensional investigation into formal and spatial sequences. Yielding reiterations and movement from drawings to models, intentionality informed the refinement. The necessity to explicate and organize the design moves, which were previously unconscious and internal, dictated progress forward.

As advancement continued, further deconstruction and reconstruction was implemented to articulate the narrative. Success of a diagram was dissected for its strengths and weaknesses; the strengths were then introduced to new conditions and specifications—such as site, program, and circulation—in order to enhance the legibility of the story.

Fundamentally, this thesis serves as the scaffolding for thinking; concertizing the process of generating design. What began as intuition, became increasingly intentional. Allegorical narrative is one avenue, one catalyst, in the process of conceptualization. My thesis, therefore, is a method of organizing thoughts taking internal knowledge, embodying and externalizing it into architecture space.

Included in

Architecture Commons