Popular Fiction Architecture


Jo and Shaun Bennett neo-gothic house Grand Designs Feb 2009
A good example of Popular Fiction Architecture  is Joanne and Shaun’s Gothic house shown on the UK television program Grand Designs in 2009. In the emerging sub-genre of  Gothic Fiction Architecture, it embodies the desire of the owners for a sense of romance and history in what is, actually, a new building. Unlike the serious proposal to return to a Gothic expression which manifested itself in the work of Pugin and others in the early nineteenth century, which I would describe as non-fiction, this Gothic expression is clearly chosen by the owners for their pleasure and enjoyment, and is openly acknowledged as fiction. There is no imperative  that everyone should build in Gothic, or that the Gothic somehow embodies truth. This house is a pretence: it pursues a Gothic style. There is creativity shown in its composition by Joanne and architectural designer Gerald Sedgewick, however it remains within strict conventions, in the same way that much popular fiction writing does. There is a lack of open-ended exploration of the kind that I am advocating; it does not rise to the level of ‘new fiction architecture’.
Jo and Shaun Bennett stairs
Jo and Shaun Bennett fireplace
Jo and Shaun Bennett windows
Consistently the interior shown here adheres to the conventions of Gothic; there is no hybridisation or layering of other ideas. But like much good popular fiction, it is full of pleasure due to both its explorations and its restrictions. (Photos: Grand Designs website).
More examples of Popular Fiction Architecture to come when I get around to it. Send photos to simonthornton@smartchat.net.au

About Fiction Architecture
I am an architect born in 1953 and practising in Melbourne as a partner in Simon and Freda Thornton Architects. I established this blog to develop a theoretical basis for a type of architecture which I call 'fiction architecture', based on imitation, pretence, trickery and playful deception, as an alternative to most 'non-fiction' architecture which may be categorized as clear, honest, sincere and didactic.

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