Eloísa Díaz

Columbia University / Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig, Die Schachnovelle (The Royal Game)
Project by Eloísa Díaz
In collaboration with Chelsea Hyduk


I found “The Royal Game” to be a testament to the endurance and limberness of human nature, and a demonstration of the fact that no matter the circumstance it is confronted with, the human spirit can come out triumphant. To that avail, I designed a staircase that in its irregularity demands from the visitor not only the regular physical investment of the climb, but also the care one needs to put into finding a solid step among such triangular difficulty. In addition, the darker-toned underbelly of the staircase is visible in a long reflecting pool at the bottom, so that the visitor who dares, the reader who dares, the person who dares, looks inside him or herself and acknowledges his or her own dark side. The underbelly, the dark side, is as much a part of the construction – and the success – as is the light side, and its existence is there to contrast with humanity’s grandest moments of light.


Matteo’s approach to the relation between literature and architecture in this project helped me greatly to realize that the crystallized, core idea transmitted through a work of art can be expressed successfully within several art forms. Using said interchangeability to find the most suitable form for the ideas I want to bring forth, I have begun to question form in a new, deeper manner: from genre, to sentence, to word.