Architect murdered in his own building: Cognitive Dwelling by Paul Maich



Cognitive Dwelling is an architectural project with a murder mystery attached, told in the form of a photo story. It is the work of Paul Maich, who graduated from Dundee School of Architecture this year.

In the narrative an architect - ie Maich himself - is murdered in a remote building he has designed the day before it is due to be handed over to the client. The story is the culmination of what Maich calls his Cognitive Dwelling: a building based on his own experiences of other buildings that have been important in his life.


The project is subtitled Transposing Subjective Experience and asks the question: "Can narrative be used to generate, explore and describe architectural form?"

The project came to our attention when it was featured in Building Design magazine's Class of 2007. Here we present the entire narrative: if you want to know more about the architectural thinking behind the project, you can download Maich's full project at the bottom of this page.







The feeling of being observed deepened, a shift in the light, a scuffed footstep on the concrete... a shadow moved out of the darkness.

The architect lies bleeding to death, staining the concrete floor... the blood flowing around him... the killer stands over him motionless... waiting.. for the struggled breaths echoing through the space to stop...


Darkness falls as the killer escapes unseen from the building... he looks up to the library window... it is done... the architect is dead.


The architect lies dead.. alone in the building he designed... the empty spaces are the only witnesses.


The killer makes his getaway.



The police arrive at the scene to investigate the claim that a body has been found and could be suspicious... the policeman waits... aware that the supposed killer could still be in the building.


"Hello... is anyone there? It's Constable Rowland."


"He was right... it's murder... Control, looks like the neighbour was right. Inform the CID."


The CID and SOCO team have begun to record the evidence... looking for vital clues... wanting a quick arrest.


The area is swept for evidence... the murder weapon is found not far from the building.


The detectives speculate over the evidence presented... the whole building is analysed, every piece of evidence recorded.

"You got any thoughts Sir? There's almost too much evidence." "There's already three examples of different fingerprints... no blood here though..."




We've got more samples of fingerprints here... that's six variations... including the victim...

The architect entered the building first, closely followed by the killer, taking a different route, staying in the shadows… the architect remained in the library, the killer fled the scene.



Suspect 1: the insomniac
Suspect 2: the inventor
Suspect 3: the miner
Suspect 4: the amnesiac
Suspect 5: the recluse

Who committed the murder?


Download Maich's presentation:

Cognitive Dwelling pages 1-4 (7MB PDF document)
Cognitive Dwelling pages 5-8 (6.1MB PDF document)

Posted on Friday September 28th 2007 at 7:34 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • oh

    very nice!!!

  • gaque

    really great! the mood of the images is fantastic…much paranoia.

  • Paul, we’re interested in interviewing you for an italian/international design and architecture publication… Please could you get in touch with us through: ?



  • Alex Mocanu

    very nice .. actually incredible :D ! congratz

  • roadkill

    It was the client…. he was sick of having an arrogant egotistic self-centred git to walk away before the work was done….

    I would have done it myself if i was not repulsed by the building in the first place…. death to architecture

  • dani

    it’s pure genious!

  • kyle peter

    yo paul first time i have got to see all your presentation man mr viatric would like it ha ha catch ya soon man i was quality really great stuff. kyle

  • mr p direct

    get over yourself stop being such a narcassist!

  • a

    That s why architecture is falling appart, because poets becomes architects !!!

  • Mrs M. Selbie

    Much impressed Peter Pan! Perhaps inspiration was drawn from by MacDuff castle??? ;) keep in touch! Congratulations x

  • It’s very interesting that he tried to fuse architecture, photography/digital art and literature although i think his rendition of all art forms won’t really impress each of its critics, respectively. By simultaneously using all art forms to express a single idea, i think he’s trying to create an entirely different medium for his art. His concept is using varied artforms to express a single idea, which i’d say is very ambitious, rather complicated, and pure genius but this particular example doesn’t really leave much of an impression. Maybe when he can achieve perfection in each aspect of every art form, his work would be worth the buzz. Perhaps he should explore his newfound medium more: create fresh storylines, fresh architecture and really impressive images. By then, I’m sure critics would really bow down to him. Right now, it’s simply interesting.

  • Darr

    It would be even more intriquing if the structure itself was designed to explain the murder – like as if the architect knew he would be killed and thus made the design to point out the clues.

  • Angeleye Concepts

    Hi Paul, a wee birdy told me about this so I had to check it out. Congrats, it’s fantastic!! Hope you are well. Michelle x

  • roadkill

    just love it… very original, and gripping

  • this is so interesting…! was gripped by the story while having a morning coffee…. suddenly the whole day seemed so full of potential and filled with mysteries…

    @a: more poets should become architects… the architectural world could only gain by been inhabited by more minds who think on more than one channel…

    @ Paul Maich: I think the building is very interesting, in conjunction with the story, but also viewed as a separate object. congratulations! thanks for making my day

  • Strong whiff of Tschumi here.