Fyodor Dostoevsky, White Nights

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This is the final installment of    a series   dedicated to his designs and what they reveal about the stories   they’re modeled on. With an inclination well below forty-five degrees, its weight looms even more imposingly over the city below. A lonely man, with no friends or acquaintances, who only knows the look and soul of the physical places around his city, Saint Petersburg. Hiding from the sunlight, he wanders the city at nighttime, animating each street corner with character—filling its voids. The closer he gets to her, the farther he distances himself from his lonely life. At the top of the succession of the four volumes there is a small, additional element: a balcony or belvedere of sorts. A viewpoint over a distant and faint city from where, in solitude, we can catch the last sunbeam before twilight. Seen from above, with its volumes coinciding with the streets, squares, intersections and boulevards, the skyscraper doesn’t even seem to exist, blending in with the city’s fabric. We’re used to imagining the fabric of a city as the footprint of solids over voids. Although her heart beats for someone else, she lets him in and the two spend four nights getting to know each other. Everything is clearer now—even the view from his window has changed and the house across the way suddenly seems “old and dingy.” The disappearance of an unexpected sunbeam reinforces the dreamer’s loneliness and distance and, with them, the prospect of a life spent recalling a “moment of blissful happiness.”
The skyscraper laboriously rises over the city. On the first night, the dreamer meets a woman in tears, bravely approaches her as he’s never approached anyone before, and consoles her. The improbable union between the two protagonists approaches in an unbearable crescendo, until the final moment when the story ends as abruptly as it had begun, and the dreamer suddenly sees even the physical city as a lifeless and meaningless place.  
In collaboration with Giuseppe Franco. Matteo Pericoli is the founder of the   Laboratory of Literary Architecture,   an interdisciplinary project that looks at fiction through the lens of architecture,   designing and building stories   as architectural projects. The novel is an adventure that lasts four nights. He has finally found the one chance he’ll ever have to rise above the city from which he feels estranged. We’re used to seeing skyscrapers towering over cities. “My nights ended with the morning.” The glow of his dreamy nights has been turned off. Along its ascent, each of the skyscraper’s four elements becomes lighter and airier. The protagonist of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s White Nights is, as he himself tells us, a dreamer.