Dialogue on architecture and language

An AAD Session hosted by CUBE.

The relationship between building and language has been the subject of numerous debates and studies by academics, giving rise to claims and counter-claims that architecture is itself a form of language. In this joint-book launch, an eminent architect (Tony Fretton) and an academic (Nicholas Temple) engage in a dialogue about the role of buildings as ‘receptacles’ of oral, written and gestural exchange, and how writing about architecture can serve as a productive (reflective) analogy to the ‘silent’ communicative sphere of architecture. The dialogue is framed around two recently published books written by the interlocutors: A E I Ou: Articles Essays Interviews and Out-takes by Tony Fretton, and Architecture and the Language Debate: Artistic and Linguistic Exchanges in Early Modern Italy by Nicholas Temple—the former a series of reflective essays on architectural practice, and the latter a historical examination of the inter- relationships between language, architecture and the city in Florence and Rome from the 15th to the early 18th centuries.


Tony Fretton is  leader, with Jillian Jones, of postgraduate Unit 2 at the School of Art Architecture and Design of London Metropolitan University, Emeritus Professor at TU Delft (the Netherlands) and Director of Tony Fretton Architects.

Nicholas Temple is Senior Professor in Architectural History, AAD Research Lead and Director of the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE) at London Metropolitan University. A qualified architect, Temple has written on the history, philosophy and culture of architecture, from antiquity to the contemporary world.


Image credit: Leon Battista Alberti, San Sebastiano. Mantua, 1460. Photo by Tony Fretton.

The facade of San Sebastiano church in Mantua - photo by Tony Fretton


Date/time Wednesday 24th November 2021, 5.30pm – 7pm 
Book ticket Registration closed
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AAD Sessions 2021-22