“… I knew immediately that the course would shake myself and my students out of the ruts of ordinary perception. The course provided a new way of seeing. The process of adding word to word is much the same as adding brick to brick. Sometimes we build in order, only to knock down and begin again. One builds one’s stories in the same one that one hopes to build a house, or a workplace, a field, a retreat, or maybe even at times a prison cell, since prisons are intentional spaces too.
… I can’t think of a better course where the purposes of two arts are so finely blended. If we are left with books, we are also with memories of how the books were created.
I don’t doubt that some day Matteo’s vision will be realised in another way — and we will have a physical street full of books, or buildings of books, in which we can dwell. I will enter the door of Ulysses and make my way underground to Dostoyevsky and beyond. We will turn ourselves into streets, towns, countries.”

Colum McCann, writer

“LabLitArch creates a unique environment to explore the haptic interface of literature and architecture, words and buildings, readability and inhabitability. It activates its participants to grasp actual texture, rather than form or meaning, and to move rather than to focus, enhancing our sense of an open-ended plasticity of texts and the value of our embodied engagement with them. It is seminal, I believe, for a mapping of the potential choreography between our bodies, imagination, and the built environment, and for opening the gates of creative thought for writers, architects, and scholars alike.”
Carola Hilfrich, Chair of the Program in Cultural Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“As [the Laboratory] guides writers to collaborate with architects in order to create in three dimensions, the writers certainly learn to think more deeply and more conceptually about the meaning of structure. It was intense and it was fun. What was both surprising and also profoundly valuable was that it deepened the way I read, the way I write, and the way I see.”
Bridget Potter, non-fiction writer, Undergraduate Instructor and Consultant in the Writing Center at Columbia University, and course tutor (2013)

“Attending the Laboratory of Literary Architecture was extremely liberating for my writing process. It forced me to think about fiction in architectural terms and helped me understand how every literary decision we make on the page can always be translated into a spatial idea. Building and crafting a three dimensional, literary piece and the ability to experience a piece of writing from different vantage points, was exhilarating. As I was in the last semester of my MFA and in the midst of writing my final thesis, the opportunity to think in spatial terms was particularly illuminating. Seeing the final model and its resemblance with my experience of reading the piece was uncanny. “

Javier Fuentes, former LabLitArch student (2013), Creative Writing Program, Columbia University

“At the beginning you don’t understand the connection between writing and architecture. And you think: ‘What is this for?’ You want to give up: ‘I want to write, I don’t want to glue pieces of cardboard!’ But then, all of a sudden, you realize that writing has everything you’d find in an architectural project: design, structure, space, paths, proportions, light or darkness, noise or silence. And at the end, without even understanding how, you perceive that you simply cannot do without this new perspective.”

Valerio Codispoti, former LabLitArch student (2013), Creative Writing Program, Scuola Holden, and course tutor

“LabLitArch was a most wonderful experience. As a design student, I was introduced to an aspect of design that’s often overlooked; a certain depth to its essence that transcends boundaries to exist on another dimension; cultivating a sensibility that holds ground in being thought provoking, other than in simply being noticed. It was an intense and fully immersive experience.”

Nihan Junaid, former LabLitArch student (2016), Dubai Design Week

“There is a good deal of seduction in an ordinary line, in the process of architecture. As poet, as architect, one must reserve space only for the essential. Thinking more visually about structure has helped me immensely in knowing how to approach my fiction writing. Though I primarily write poetry, I’ve begun to write prose and it requires a different type of structural planning, one that is truly aligned with architectural design (where will this line overlap, where do these elements repeat, how can I make this motif powerful, yet entirely subtle?). In writing, as in architecture, the suggestion of a line is more powerful than the line itself. “
Catherine Pond, former LabLitArch student (2013), Creative Writing Program, Columbia University

“LabLitArch was five days of exploring, learning, introspecting, reevaluating and, most importantly, being reminded that all of this can be tremendous fun … At LabLitArch, we built a channel of thought bridging from prose to form. By the end, we saw how prose stands in structure and how its essence had adapted to fit a new framework where grammar was physical. The process is pure alchemy as any pursuit of creative expression … The gift of the workshop is a refined sense of wonder, an enthusiasm to look for the narrative in everything around us and, more importantly, seeing and appreciating them.”
Vishnu Prasad, former LabLitArch student (2016), Dubai Design Week — architecture graduate, illustrator and writer

“This process has changed the way I approach my own writing by giving me a new way into story construction, a way that approaches its elements through newly-articulated considerations of relativity/distance, submergence, balance between internal and the reach of the outside world. All these nuances I had a lesser grasp of before taking this class”

Joanne Yao, former LabLitArch student (2013), Creative Writing Program, Columbia University

“This is exactly the kind of learning that I think should be taking place more frequently.”
Jonathan Weller, English teacher at Redwood High School, California

“The Laboratory of Literary Architecture is an extraordinary experiment on and with readers and the resourcefulness of their imagination. By taking part in the laboratory, one discovers that experiencing the space of a text does not exclusively mean visualizing the settings described in it, but also requires performing a complex synesthetic and imaginative process.”
Marco Maggi, Università della Svizzera italiana

“The Laboratory of Literary Architecture enables the physical visualization of all those concepts and ideas that elude verbal?descriptions. It is a perfect example of modern?active learning, which draws on the ancient “docere cum delectare” [to teach by?having fun]. The architectural models, which resulted from in-depth analysis, enabled the students to express ideas hidden within the?music while offering an original and personal interpretation of the works.”
Andrea Malvano, Associate Professor of Music, University of Turin, Department of Humanistic Studies