WIT Press

Towards A Specific Modernity Of Architecture: The Trade-off Between Text And Context In Defining A Poetic Approach Of Individual Housing In Tunis


Free (open access)





Page Range

275 - 286




933 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


E. Bchir


Our paper elaborates the idea of a specific modernity in architecture in the Tunisian context. We try to draft a process which extols modernity by reinterpreting local tradition with the aim of drawing a vision of dwelling poetics. To that end, a poetic phenomenological reading of the dwelling-building Heidegger’s complex will be developed, by comparing narrated time and the constructed space relying on Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics. We compare architecture with narrative, a literary text with a spatial context and then we present our analytical model. We show how the three Aristotelian phases of mimetic invention are active and how they act as an intimate diachronic and synchronic trade-off between building and dwelling. The first phase examines dwelling under the phenomenological approach using Gaston Bachelard’s topoanalysis that places poetic image at the heart of cultural reflection. The second phase presents the dialectic of dwelling and building focusing on building: space and time cross each other through construction and narration, and “spatiality of narration” tangles with the “temporality of the architectural act”. We show how poetic reversals, intertextuality and intelligibility are relevant to architectural projects. The third phase highlights back dwelling and investigates the taste of the different protagonists involved in an architectural project.

The paper will examine the theoretical aspect and will equally focus on its applicability on a concrete case of individual housing in Tunis. The aim is to build up a view of an up-to-date architecture in harmony with its traditional local culture.


architecture, modernity, tradition, Aristotelian poetics, narrative, building and dwelling, poetic image, individual housing