Joanne Rowling or J.K.Rowling became a household name in the late 1990s. She entered the modern literary world through her children’s fiction books. Harry Potter and his wizarding world opened the portals to a beloved fictional world to children and adults alike. J.K. Rowling quickly rose to fame after the first book in the series released in 1997. Eventually, she remained in the limelight as a successful author, billionaire, philanthropist, and screenwriter. Her ‘rags to riches’ life have served as inspiration for many. The promotion of reading habits amongst children is one of the most noteworthy contributions of J.K. Rowling’s career.

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J.K. Rowling at the release of the 7th Harry Potter book ©www.insider.com

J.K. Rowling’s prowess as an author is crystal clear. She is renowned for designing a fantasy world of witches, wizards, and magic spells with words. Her determination, humanity, and eloquence have been discussed time and again. She appears to hold within her the magic she created in her works.

But what if J.K. Rowling was an architect? What kind of architectural marvels would she bewitch us with? So, let us wave our wands and cast ‘Revelio’ to show us what J.K. Rowling as an architect would create.

‘Alohomora’

J.K. Rowling’s writing style is often considered whimsical and imaginative. This is more or less a result of the genre of the Harry Potter books. In various interviews, she has mentioned her fondness for magic and how she enjoyed writing for children. She put a lot of thought into the design and atmosphere of Hogwarts.

Elements like the levitating staircases and transporting rooms added to the aura. But the architecture in her work is also borrowed from the classical and gothic elements seen in England and Scotland. J.K. Rowling’s experience as a student of French and classics is evident in her writing style. She used and reinvented different terms from these classical languages. Hence her designs might show the influences of different cultures.

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Scaled model of Hogwarts ©www.flickr.com

It would only make sense if she opted to create such surrealistic structures as an architect. Her designs might be created to appeal to the kids. Her buildings might conjure a sense of an alternate reality once we step into it. Her designs might be a cross between the whimsy in Antoni Gaudi’s style and the gothic revival elements in Charles Barry’s works. Her style would be a confluence of classicism and eccentricity without the indulgence in ornamental opulence. Just like her literary works, the focus would be on the creation of an ethereal atmosphere within the structures.

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The whimsical façade of Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudi ©oneworldonebackpack.com

J.K. Rowling was no less than a witch when it comes to the using of architecture to convey the narration. She is known to give utmost attention to the setting of her works. The emotions were conveyed through the architectural descriptions. The potions lessons take place ‘deep in the cold dungeons’ as opposed to the astronomy classes in ‘the tallest tower’.

Even the descriptions of the common rooms display this quality. It is as though the rooms take on the character of the house. The warm and cosy Gryffindor common room is the polar opposite of the dark and spooky Slytherin one. The entrances, the materials used, and the quality of lighting in these rooms convey to us the characteristics of the house and its members.

Hogwarts wasn’t merely a background. Hogwarts castle became a character in itself. The hidden chambers, the grandeur of the great hall, and the secret passageways all serve to convey this character.

Similarly, the architectural works she designs will include this atmospheric quality in it. The quality of the atmosphere created in Peter Zumthor’s works is what she will lean toward. She might also include concepts from kinetic architecture to add to the structure’s essence. These elements would become part and parcel of the building as a whole, rather than standing out. As seen in the Sharifi-Ha House by Nextoffice. It is almost like Hogwarts, a simple building that holds magic and surprises within it. Her work might lean more towards aestheticism and inclusion of grand spaces.

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Thermal bath, Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor ©www.domusweb.it
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Kinetic architecture of Sharifi-Ha House, Tehran by Nextoffice ©www.designstack.co

Lumos’

J.K. Rowling has earned the label of being eccentric and shy. This could be a result of her limited media presence. But those who had a chance to interact with her describe her as beguiling, engaging, and articulate. The buildings she designs will show this quality of hers. They might have simple exteriors and intricate interiors. They might appear elusive, and once approached, they will enchant the visitor.

She has often claimed that ‘freedom’ is what defines her. She is excited about traveling, seeking adventures, and meeting new people. She prefers to multitask and be involved in all aspects of a project she is working on. It has been reported by Bloomberg that she chose to be involved in the tiniest of decisions related to ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park’. She has frequently explained her preference for inventing things. Attention to detail and innovation will be the defining aspects of her architectural projects.

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Detailed architecture of ‘Wizarding World at Universal Studios’ ©www.thebucketlistnarratives.com

Even though she began as a children’s literature author, it did not limit her. She branched out into screenwriting and also successfully authored books for teenagers and adults. She even adopted her style of writing accordingly. Under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, she ventured into an entirely different genre. As an architect, her designs will be user-centric. She will also experiment with different styles and maybe bring forth the addition of a new approach in design. Maybe her works will have a seamless juxtaposition between styles seen in the works of I.M. Pei.

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The Louvre Pyramid at Paris, France by I.M.Pei ©www.insider.com

‘Expecto Patronum’

J.K. Rowling might not favor too much media presence, but she is vocal about her beliefs and opinions.  The author has quite a following when it comes to this.  She has always taken a stand when it comes to various social and political issues. She is a philanthropist and heads multiple charities and social support groups. Though Harry Potter was meant for children, it dealt with serious issues such as elitism, gender disparity in the society, and so on. She has been quite outspoken when it comes to mental health issues. She has stated that ‘the dementors’ in the Harry Potter books were a personification of the depression she once battled. She seems to draw inspiration from her personal experiences to add depth to her fictional world.

As an architect, she would convey her socio-political opinions through her designs. Maybe she will create structures like the dome of the Reichstag building by Norman Foster. A design that is architecturally fascinating while conveying a strong political opinion.

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The dome of the new German parliament conveying transparency between government and its people ©www.archdaily.com

She may also follow the footsteps of Alejandro Aravena and design socially responsible architecture. Her designs might also focus on creating an uplifting aura for its inhabitants. Maybe she will work towards an architecture that contributes to improving the user’s mental health.

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 Villa Verde in Constitución, Chile by Alejandro Aravena  ©www.archdaily.com

“All was well.”

As a writer or as an architect, J.K. Rowling will always find a way to inspire people. Whether it’s through the characters she created or through her own individuality, she has carved a niche in the world of modern literature. Just like her role models in life, she has managed to touch the lives of a whole generation. Signing off with these words from J.K. Rowling herself, “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Author

Architectural Journalist

RTF

New Delhi

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