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Symposium Against the Grain

“Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot.”                                       The Sandman, Neil Gaiman


From ancient Aboriginal Dreamings and Greek Mythology, to today’s Facebook Fictions and Urban Myths, stories are the foundation of our culture, giving meaning to everyday events, oiling our social machinery, interweaving the past and the present, and imagining visions of the future.

How can known literary methods of storytelling be used in the theory and production of architecture and the experience of our cities? Can the narrative method of architecture again be coupled with its underlying culture and social context?


These and other questions are addressed in this special two-day symposium on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of January, by the following keynotes:

  • London based architecture studio Naja & deOstos, who explore symbiotic relations between emerging cultural patterns and architectural narratives. They currently teach an AA London undergraduate studio and a Bartlett graduate unit and have published their work in several books including Pamphlet architecture 29 – Ambiguous spaces. 
  • Dutch architect of the year 2014, Klaske Havik, who has been awarded for her effort to address the narrative qualities in architectural design and education. In her work as a TU Delft associate professor she focuses on the relationship between literature and architecture. Apart from her academic work she is one of the editors of OASE Journal for Architecture and founding member of the platform WRITINGPLACE.
  • Belgian Based architect-artist Koen Deprez, who exhibited his work under the title Structure and Event at the Centre for Architecture in New York City between November and December 2014. Deprez explores the dislocated and imposing environments of landscape, interior and urban spaces via drawings, collages, architecture, isometrics and interventions, and even through an educational curriculum.
  • Art historian and assistant professor Jacob Voorthuis of the TU Eindhoven combines philosophy with architectural theory in his lectures (art & architecture, philosophy and architecture) and the design studios he teaches. He is one of the favourite lecturers of the TU/e master program, where many students visit his lectures series more than once.
  • Architect, writer, educator and current professor of dwelling at the RWTH-Aachen, Wim van den Bergh has taught around the globe at institutions as the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and the Cooper Union in New York. His extensive published work includes studies of Russian avant-garde architecture, the houses of Curzio Malaparte and Constantin Melnikov, and the work of architects such as F.P.J. Peutz, John Hejduk and Luis Barragán.
  • Course director for the MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins in London, Patricia Austin. Who uses narrative theory to unite different disciplines, designers, curators, writers and architects, in the development of spatial environments. She addresses how stories can be folded into physical space in order to create memorable human experiences and produce places that have distinct identities.

including performances of: Het Geluid, Joris Lindhout, Sjoerd Vreugdenhil and Intro in Situ 


Date: Friday January 16th 19:30 – 22:00 and Saturday January 17th 10:30 -18:00

Tickets*: Friday only: standard €12,50 (excl. VAT) / student € 5,-

Friday and Saturday: standard: € 25,- (excl. VAT)  /  student: € 12,50

Please register:

* including lunch, drinks, special performances and entry to our current exhibition Cedric Price – The Dynamics of Time’.



The symposium is organised by Bureau Europa in collaboration with the department of Wohnbau, RWTH Aachen architectural faculty. The symposium is part of a masters design course taught at the department of Wohnbau and placed in the context of Bureau Europa’s on-going research ‘Notes and Notations’,  where knowledge production informed by neighbouring disciplines forms the central theme.

Location: Bureau Europa


Boschstraat 9

6211 AS  Maastricht

Click here for more information.

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