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White book cover of Ali AlYousef's The Labyrinth of Rooms: An Architectural Allegory. Published by ORO Editions.

The Labyrinth of Rooms

An Architectural Allegory

By (author) Ali Alyousefi


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  • A nameless human wakes up in a labyrinth of 63 rooms, where the design of each room prompts them to contemplate architecture, space, and the nature of life
  • The book is a literary exploration of architecture, so it will appeal to those interested in architecture but also literature more broadly
  • Written in simple, poetic language, free from jargon, and accessible to all adult readers
  • Because of the book’s uplifting message and unique graphic design it’s an ideal gift, especially for people interested in architecture
  • The way the book uses storytelling to introduce the reader to architectural ideas and design thinking makes it ideal for new students of architecture
  • Follows a long tradition of architects using fictional stories to think about architecture, including Adolf Loos, Hassan Fathy, Archigram, Superstudio, Arata Isozaki, Jon Hejduk, Lebbeus Woods, Rem Koolhaas, etc.
Full Description

The Labyrinth of Rooms is a story with one character, Human, who is an allegorical representation of us all. Human suddenly awakes in a square room with no memory of a prior life. A corridor leads them from that room to the next, then another, and so on until they reach the end of a 63-room labyrinth. As the journey progresses, Human contemplates their surroundings, studying the unique shape of each room and how it affects their thoughts, feelings, and actions. To understand the significance of the rooms’ architecture, Human engages in different types of thinking: questioning why the rooms were designed as such, imagining situations the rooms can host, praising what they find geometrically pleasing, speculating about the nature of the labyrinth, and even complaining about their forced existence within it. This variety is reflected in the writing of the book, which intentionally juxtaposes different genres, including storytelling, philosophical reasoning, dialogues, and prose poetry. In The Labyrinth of Rooms, the human life is conceived as a series of settings, or stated otherwise: a coevolution of our mental space and physical space.

About the Author

Ali AlYousefi is an architect, artist, and writer. He has explored the topics of architectural theory and literary genres in various projects: two Arabic books, academic articles, and a PhD dissertation at UPenn.

ORO Editions
18th Mar 2024
Paperback / softback
World excluding USA, Canada, Australasia & Asia (except Japan; China non-exclusive)
203 mm x 127 mm
80 Pages
10 color
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