MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series

Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers

Debate 1

Ex Libris: Novel Architecture

Guest speaker: Mark Morris

Friday 2 February | 11:30am | HCT Room

This talk examines the ways in which architecture is treated in fiction, specifically its role in the novel where descriptions of the built environment exceed the function of providing a setting. We will look at a range of literary genres, from the Gothic to Romance to Crime to Sci-Fi. How architecture features in a plot, is used as a foreshadowing element or surrogate character will be reviewed. A key consideration will be language’s permissiveness and expansiveness in regard to architecture, the ability one has to economically speculate on architecture through text. We will conclude by turning our attention to the figure of the architect in select titles.


Mark Morris is Head of Teaching at the AA and an HTS lecturer. He completed his MArch at Ohio State University where he received the AIA Henry Adams medal, and took his PhD at the London Consortium supported by the RIBA Research Trust. His research focuses on questions of visual representation in the context of the history of architectural education, architecture in fiction, and the preservation of scale models. Mark previously taught architectural theory and design at Cornell University where he served as Director of Graduate Studies and Director of Exhibitions. He is the author of two books: Models: Architecture and the Miniature and Automatic Architecture.

The image used has been selected from the article titled ‘Pemberley, Manderley and Howards End: the real buildings behind fictional houses’ published on 29 July 2017 in The Guardian (link:


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