Catherine Pond

Columbia University / Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Project by: Catherine Pond
In collaboration with Stephanie Jones


From a literal perspective, the three sections of my model (the first house, the breezeway, the final house) represent the three chapters in the book: ‘The Window,’ ‘Time Passes,’ and ‘The Lighthouse.’ The negative space (the passageway between the two houses, the shadow under the extended roof off the second building) enacts Mrs. Ramsay’s death, while the retaining wall on the right side, with its sharp edges, registers the void against something solid.  I wanted that in the structure, as in the novel, grief and desire should be inextricable.


There is a good deal of seduction in an ordinary line, in the process of architecture. As poet, as architect, one must reserve space only for the essential. Thinking more visually about structure has helped me immensely in knowing how to approach my fiction writing. Though I primarily write poetry, I’ve begun to write prose and it requires a different type of structural planning, one that is truly aligned with architectural design (where will this line overlap, where do these elements repeat, how can I make this motif powerful, yet entirely subtle?). In writing, as in architecture, the suggestion of a line is more powerful than the line itself.