The Bartlett School of Architecture


Malca Mizrahi



Lyrical Space: Literary Influence in Contemporary Spatio-Visual Practices in Argentina

First and second supervisors 

Prof Phil Tabor & Prof Penny Florence


'Lyrical Space' is a concept of physical space evoked in words and produced by the visual. The thesis will show how the fictional environments developed in Argentine literature transcend the virtual and representational space that words construct, and inform, shape and influence its visual, architectural and performance art production.

The verbal, both in written and oral form, is the force that shaped the cultural identity of the nation after the Revolution of 1810. To define the parameters of Lyrical Space, I will explore the form in which experimental Argentine literature creates contexts, working with Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar's short stories.

The thesis will show chronologically the transformation of spatial ideas, comparing the work of literary, visual, and architectural practices engaged with the production of space from the 1960s' avant-garde to now. The aim here is to exemplify physical forms of lyrical space by examining how images and conceptions of space conceived in the literary realm characterize Argentine architecture and visual arts.

Even though much has been written on the literary influence in the construction of meaning both in the visual arts and architectural production in Latin America, there is no research in contemporary art criticism and theoretical thinking that relates the literary to the spatial content in Argentine visual art and its translation into architecture. Consequently, the specific study of the transformation of this spatial character has been overlooked.

By focusing only on the spatial contents of twentieth-century Argentine visual production, the thesis will explore the idea of hybridization of diverse linguistic systems, interweaving the spatial quality of the works with literary strategies of fictional construction.

Image: (From top left): D. Lamela (1968), M. Paksa (1968) , R. Jacoby (1967), A. Greco (1962), A. Greco (1963), M. Minujim (1966), R. Jacoby (1968), l. Ferrari (1964), N. J. Puzzolo (1968).


Malca Mizrahi is an architect and writer. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Buenos Aires and has a Masters Degree in Architectural Design from The Bartlett School of Architecture. She is currently undertaking graduate research at The Bartlett, working with contemporary art practices engaged with the production of space and architecture. She taught architectural design at the University of Buenos Aires and at The Bartlett School of Architecture at Diploma Level.

She practiced architecture in Buenos Aires, Madrid and London, where she worked for Zaha Hadid Architects, being the lead designer for The Glasgow Museum of Transport. Her writing and visual work explores the production of space from an interdisciplinary approach, interweaving visual and literary strategies of fictional construction; it has been exhibited in London, Venice, Madrid, Rotterdam, Vienna, Sao Pablo, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires.