Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

A Colloquium on Ficto-Critical Approaches to a Writing Architecture


Supported by the ATCH (Architecture Theory Criticism History) Research Centre

School of Architecture, The University of Queensland, Brisbane


Find here the schedule and list of speakers for the event.


Event Details


Speakers: Anna Gibbs, Katrina Schlunke, Andrew Steen, Hélène Frichot,

Naomi Stead, and others to be announced

Date: 1pm Thursday, 4 August, 2016 to 6pm Friday, 5 August, 2016

Venue: Zelman Cowen Building 51, St Lucia Campus, Level 2, Room 207



All are welcome to attend the event, but both audience members and speakers must register. Please use the secure online payment portal here.


The registration includes a nominal fee to contribute to the costs of catering - full registration is $50 and concession is $30. This fee applies to either one or both days of attendance. Registration includes morning and afternoon tea, lunch and beverages. There will be drinks following the colloquium in the evening of August 5.


The deadline for registration is Monday 1 August.


Event Discription:

The call for abstracts are now closed. We received 23 abstracts from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and India. We accepted 14 abstracts, leading us to extend the colloquium to a second afternoon.


More information on the programme, speakers, and abstracts will be forthcoming.


Abstracts were sought from those wishing to participate in a colloquium exploring ficto-critical approaches to a 'writing architecture.' Selected papers from the colloquium will be published in a book. Early career researchers, from any field, were particularly encouraged to submit.



Both architects and fiction writers imagine new worlds into being. Both architects and fiction writers describe and document these worlds, they projectively inhabit and occupy them. They each produce settings - for lives and narratives. Every architectural proposition is a kind of fiction, before it ever becomes a built fact; likewise every written fiction relies on setting, the construction of a coherent milieu and context in which a story can take place.


But what, then, of the role of fiction, and writing, in criticism – of architecture and other things? Ficto-criticism fuses the forms and genres of essay, critique, and story. It combines the techniques of fiction and critical theory with the aim of challenging assumptions about our contemporary social and political realities. Although fiction is never obliged to be faithful to reality, when combined with the emancipatory potential of criticism it holds the power to disrupt habitual ways of seeing and acting amidst our everyday lives. 


This colloquium brings ficto-criticism together with experimental approaches to architecture as a world-making or constructive practice. Ficto-criticism is a method that innovatively combines the disciplines of architecture, philosophy and literature in order to enable both the critique of, as well as speculative explorations of world-making practices (Gibbs 2005; Meuke 2002).

The a-grammatical construction of ‘a writing architecture’ acknowledges a debt to architectural theorists such as Jane Rendell and Katja Grillner (Rendell 2005; 2010) who have explored how far experimental approaches to writing can be used to alter and expand architectural design thinking.


While fiction is a powerful means by which we can speculatively propel ourselves into other imagined worlds, criticism offers the situated capacity to ethically cope with what confronts us.


Ficto-criticism for architecture assumes the constructive, creative and critical situatedness of the thinking-designer in the midst of their problematic field, suggesting both means of speculating on near futures as well as the capacity to critique the present where it has become oppressive (Petrescu 2007). The power of conjoining fiction and criticism across the linking punctuation of the hyphen as a ficto-critical practice provides opportunities for writers both within and without the discipline to explore ‘a writing architecture.’


The colloquium will take the form of twenty minute presentations – either manifesting or reflecting on methods of ficto-critical writing in architecture – followed by extended discussion and ‘readings’ by other participants. Given the nature of this format, the number of speakers (and abstracts accepted) will be limited.


Confirmed speakers:

Anna Gibbs, Katrina Schlunke, Andrew Steen, Hélène Frichot, Naomi Stead



Dr Hélène Frichot  

Associate Professor Docent - Critical Studies and Gender Theory in Architecture

School of Architecture KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Stockholm


Dr Naomi Stead

Associate Professor – Deputy Director of the Research Centre ATCH

School of Architecture, The University of Queensland, Brisbane



Naomi Stead n.stead@uq.edu.au