Wolf D. Prix on Lebbeus Woods

’ only permanent structure, The Light Pavilion, built in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, in the Raffles City complex in Chengdu, China, by Steven Holl Architects.

Lebbeus Woods was an architect’s architect. Artistically uncompromising, unapologetically theoretical, and, in his own way, marvelously optimistic, Lebbeus’ death last month deeply saddened the architectural community.

In a world where computers are making architecture an increasingly technical profession, Lebbeus provoked architects to consider – what is architecture’s purpose? And, more importantly, what is it’s potential? As Woods’ friend Thom Mayne told The Los Angeles Times, “Architecture wasn’t what he did. It’s who he was. There is no other Lebbeus.”

Today, , the oft-controversial figure, published his own eulogy to Woods, an architect and friend he held in high-esteem. Unlike the “Lady-Gaga-aesthetics,” that prevail in architecture today, Prix says, Woods’ forms were always new, profound, and impactive. Prix claims that Woods’ unique drawings”conquered the drawing boards of innumerable students and architects and [...] put the question about the contents of a future architecture into the foreground.”

“Lebbeus was the living proof of Derrida’s theory that often a small sketch can have more influence on the world than a large building.”

You can read all of Wolf D. Prix’s “For Lebbeus Woods” after the break…

FOR LEBBEUS WOODS

Lebbeus was the living proof of Derrida’s theory that often a small sketch can have more influence on the world than a large building.

And as such we will think of him as a grand architect without built work, but his designs – hey!: they are designs and not drawings! – his conceived buildings and forms had massive impact, which conquered the drawing boards of innumerable students and architects and which put the question about the contents of a future architecture into the foreground. (I notice that I wrote DRAWING board.)

Lebbeus’ forms were never lacking content, because he could only generate new timely forms with new content – everything else to him were empty building gestures, architectureless surface. Senseless to bother about them. Today we call them Lady Gaga-aesthetics.

When 20 years ago we explained this to each other in the bar of the small airport in Santa Monica in a late afternoon, we had already emptied the Champagne supply of the bar.

But it was crystal clear, like the Roederer Cristal, what he meant by saying: if we architects cannot give impact for new content, we should leave it – the architecture.

We won’t Leb. Promised!

Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU

 

FÜR LEBBEUS WOODS

Lebbeus war der lebende Beweis von Derridas Theorie, dass oft eine kleine Zeichnung mehr Einfluss auf die Welt haben kann als ein großes Bauwerk.

Und so werden wir an ihn denken, als einen großen Architekten ohne Bauwerke, aber seine Entwürfe – hey!: es sind Entwürfe und keine Zeichnungen! – seine erdachten Gebäude und Formen waren Hämmer, die die Zeichentische unzähliger Studenten und Architekten eroberten und die Frage nach den Inhalten einer zukünftigen Architektur in den Vordergrund stellten. (Mir fällt auf dass ich ZEICHENtisch geschrieben habe.)

Lebbeus’ Formen waren niemals inhaltsleer, weil er nur mit neuen Inhalten neue zeitrichtige neue Formen generieren konnte – alles andere waren für ihn hohle Gebäudegebärden, architekturlose Oberfläche. Sinnlos, sich damit zu beschäftigen. Heute sagen wir Lady Gaga-Ästhetik dazu.

Als wir uns das vor 20 Jahren in der Bar im kleinen Flughafen von Santa Monica an einem späten Nachmittag gegenseitig erklärten, hatten wir die Champagnervorräte der Bar schon geleert.

Aber es war kristallklar wie der Roederer Cristal, was er damit meinte wenn er sagte: wenn wir Architekten keine Anstöße für neue Inhalte geben können, sollten wir es lassen – die Architektur.

Werden wir nicht Leb. Versprochen!

Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU

 

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Wolf D. Prix on Lebbeus Woods" 08 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=291605>