Re use: archaeology and storytelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attempts to describe and characterise the re use of existing buildings in recent interior architectural theory have often centred on the language and syntax associated with literary arts. Remodelling and interior interventions are often described in terms of translation, interpretation, poetry, essay and narrative. This is not without substance and indeed it is not only the act that is described in such terms but the very thing itself. The intervention or remodelled architectural form is an essay on and narration of the existing building. It translates and interoperates a previous history and story manifest within the fabric of the existing building and act as its biographer. This act of storytelling is predetermined by the excavation of the story. As a precursor to the narration, the designer translates and adopts the behaviour of the archaeologist. It is a process of careful and predetermined removal and discovery that allows the depiction of previous lives, events and culture to become part of the present. The intervention as a mechanism for re use is a biographic interpretation of the previous and an auto biographic narration of the present. It is this ability to be both representational of the past and the present that establishes the significance of the intervention as a key contributor to place within this persistent context. This paper aims to contribution to current discourse in relation to the validity and authenticity of the built interior and the re use of the existing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
JournalNorthumbria Working Paper Series: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Built and Virtual Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


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