Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.

Architectural fictions and other stories

06 November 18:30 - 20:00
Organized by: Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House

Inspired by Dalí and Duchamp’s interests in storytelling, we take a closer look at the role of architectural fictions in practice.


The work of Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp presented a symbolic and psychologically charged view of the world based on dream-like imagery set in fictional landscapes. They acted as storytellers who used allegory as a way of organising ideas through figurative means and often through architecture. For Dalí, it was a way of expressing the subconscious, something to bring out the previously unattainable; while Duchamp saw allegory as a mathematical equation – an abstraction that allows us to better understand the relationship between selected components.


Often ending up in an undefined territory between art and architecture, there are many architects who have used the work of Dalí and Duchamp as a starting point for their own fictional landscapes and alternate realities.


From the surrealist references in early OMA Manhattan drawings, to Bernard Tschumi’s Advertisements for Architecture and the science fiction landscapes in the work of Lebbeus Woods, architects have used this approach to reveal the contradictory nature of the world and to question reality itself. Join us as we bring together different practitioners whose work is imbued with poetry, art and symbolic meaning to discuss their relationship with the legacy of Dalí and Duchamp.




Sam Jacob – architect, columnist, design critic; principal of Sam Jacob Studio

Neil Spiller – founding Director of the AVATAR Group; the Hawksmoor Chair of Architecture and Landscape and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, London; author of Surrealism and Architecture – A Blistering Romance

Peter Wilson – architect; co-founder and director of Bolles+Wilson

Niall Hobhouse – art collector, writer, trustee of Drawing Matter


Supported by Drawing Matter