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Peter Eisenman

Spotlight: Peter Eisenman

10:30 - 11 August, 2017
Spotlight: Peter Eisenman, Wexner Center for the Arts. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/75905404@N00/3484952969'>Flickr user OZinOH</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a>
Wexner Center for the Arts. Image © Flickr user OZinOH licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Whether built, written or drawn, the work of renowned architect, theorist and educator Peter Eisenman (born 11th August 1932) is characterized by Deconstructivism, with an interest in signs, symbols and the processes of making meaning always at the foreground. As such, Eisenman has been one of architecture's foremost theorists of recent decades; however he has also at times been a controversial figure in the architectural world, professing a disinterest in many of the more pragmatic concerns that other architects engage in.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/9617851018/'>Flickr user dalbera</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> House II. Image <a href='https://www.an-onymous.com/peter-eisenman/'>via an-onymous.com</a> The City of Culture. Image © Duccio Malagamba The Wexner Center. Image © Brad Feinknopf +12

AD Classics: 1988 Deconstructivist Exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

07:00 - 29 March, 2017
AD Classics: 1988 Deconstructivist Exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), View into the exhibition (1988). Photographer unknown. Image via MoMA
View into the exhibition (1988). Photographer unknown. Image via MoMA

When Philip Johnson curated the Museum of Modern Arts’ (MoMA) 1932 “International Exhibition of Modern Architecture,” he did so with the explicit intention of defining the International Style. As a guest curator at the same institution in 1988 alongside Mark Wigley (now Dean Emeritus of the Columbia GSAPP), Johnson took the opposite approach: rather than present architecture derived from a rigidly uniform set of design principles, he gathered a collection of work by architects whose similar (but not identical) approaches had yielded similar results. The designers he selected—Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Bernard Tschumi, and the firm Coop Himmelblau (led by Wolf Prix)—would prove to be some of the most influential architects of the late 20th Century to the present day.[1,2]

Inside the exhibition (1988). Photographer unknown. Image via MoMA Inside the exhibition (1988). Photographer unknown. Image via MoMA Inside the exhibition (1988). Photographer unknown. Image via MoMA 1988 Catalogue Cover. Image via MoMA +6

A Selection of Name-Based Architecture Memes

06:00 - 13 January, 2017

The world of architecture can be a serious place. Though the rest of the world holds quite a few stereotypes about architects, unfortunately none of them include us having a sense of humor—and perhaps that seriousness explains why one of the most popular memes involving architects isn't exactly favorable to the profession. Here at ArchDaily we thought we'd do just a little to correct that with some memes riffing on some of the profession's most beloved names—as our gift to the entire architectural profession. Read on to see what we've come up with, and don't forget to get involved with your own architecture funnies.

“Re-Constructivist Architecture” Exhibition Explores the Lost Art of Architectural Language

09:30 - 1 January, 2017
“Re-Constructivist Architecture” Exhibition Explores the Lost Art of Architectural Language, © jbmn
© jbmn

Re-Constructivist Architecture,” an exhibition now on show at the Ierimonti Gallery in New York, features the work of thirteen emerging architecture firms alongside the work of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi. The title of the exhibition is a play on words, referring to the De-Constructivist exhibition of 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art that destabilized a certain kind of relationship with design theory.

This reconstruction is primarily of language. The architects draw from archives—mental, digital or printed on paper—distant from the typical parametric and highly schematic rationales that characterized the last thirty years of design in architecture. Within the theoretical system that drives architectural composition, these archives inevitably become homages, references, and quotes.

© AM3 © Adam Nathaniel Furman © Point Supreme © Warehouse of Architecture and Research +46

121 Definitions of Architecture

09:30 - 17 October, 2016
121 Definitions of Architecture

There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.

Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.

This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.

Interview with Peter Eisenman: "I Am Not Convinced That I Have a Style"

10:00 - 11 April, 2016
Interview with Peter Eisenman: "I Am Not Convinced That I Have a Style", The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects
The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects

As one of the most revered and often reviled architects of the latter part of the 20th century, Peter Eisenman has courted controversy throughout his 50-year career, often attempting to distance himself from the work of his contemporaries and standing in firm opposition to popular trends. In this interview, Eisenman elaborates on his beliefs about architecture and the new direction he has taken in recent years – while simultaneously pulling no punches when discussing the work of others, including Rem Koolhaas, Richard Meier, and even his younger self.

The interview is a shortened version of the latest of three interviews with Peter Eisenman (from October 2003, June 2009, and February 2016) that comprise the upcoming book by Vladimir Belogolovsky “Conversations with Peter Eisenman.” The book, published by Berlin-based DOM Publishers will be presented during the opening days at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in late May this year.

The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Image © Eisenman Architects The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Image © Vladimir Belogolovsky +39

Excerpt: Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity

08:30 - 18 August, 2015
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault

No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.

Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:

“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”

Unified Architectural Theory, Chapter 13

09:30 - 30 May, 2015
Unified Architectural Theory, Chapter 13, The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects. "Eisenman explains how he creates forms that make him feel high in his own mind, instead of considering the mundane needs of the user. Thus it comes as no surprise that he wants to express a stressed conception of life through his buildings’ twisted and unbalanced forms". Image © Duccio Malagamba
The City of Culture / Eisenman Architects. "Eisenman explains how he creates forms that make him feel high in his own mind, instead of considering the mundane needs of the user. Thus it comes as no surprise that he wants to express a stressed conception of life through his buildings’ twisted and unbalanced forms". Image © Duccio Malagamba

We will be publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. In Chapter 13, Salingaros begins to conclude his argument by discussing its counterpart, explaining how post-modern theorists such as Peter Eisenman came to eclipse the ideas of Christopher Alexander – and why Eisenman’s theoretical hegemony is not based upon sound architectural thinking. If you missed them, make sure to read the previous installments here.

Natural and Unnatural Form Languages

The concept of living structure, and the support for the theory offered by both direct experience and science, offers a basis for designing and understanding architecture. This platform is a sensible way of approaching design and building, because it is beholden neither to ideology, nor to individual agendas. Moreover, it should be contrasted to the irrationality of other schemes that currently appear in and seem to drive architectural discourse.

AIA Honors Peter Eisenman with 2015 Topaz Medallion

00:00 - 10 December, 2014
AIA Honors Peter Eisenman with 2015 Topaz Medallion  , AD Classics: Wexner Center for the Arts / Peter Eisenman. Image © Flickr user OZinOH
AD Classics: Wexner Center for the Arts / Peter Eisenman. Image © Flickr user OZinOH

Following Moshe Safdie’s selection to be the next AIA Gold Medalist, the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has announced Peter Eisenman, FAIA, as winner of the 2015 Topaz Medallion. Eisenman, known for a lifetime of scholarly work and his long associations with Princeton, Harvard, Cooper Union and Yale, will be honored for his global impact on architectural education after more than 60 years of teaching.

“There are probably very few schools of architecture where Peter is yet to have lectured,” wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. 

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

01:00 - 18 November, 2014
Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale, Fundamentals (Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene
Fundamentals (Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

The Berlage Archive: Elia Zenghelis (2009)

00:00 - 25 August, 2014

In this 2009 lecture titled "Fabricating Ideology and Architectural Education," seminal architect, educator, and co-founder of OMA Elia Zenghelis discusses the development of ideologies that shape architectural discourse vis-a-vis architectural education. Arguing that architectural education is motivated by religious, socio-political, and economic principles, Zenghelis makes the case that the war-torn 20th century has been an era of upheaval and conflict, resulting in the loss of historical context and a confused state for artists and architects. Proposing the idea that architecture is a servant of power, and is thus intrinsically intertwined with political and societal trends, Zenghelis urges a return to a contextualized understanding of architectural history in order for contemporary architects to develop a sensitive and nuanced approach to their practice. 

Discussing his relationships and collaborations with former students and colleagues Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Peter Eisenman, as well as the political and architectural legacy of such giants as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, Elia Zenghelis provides a compelling conversation about the inherent role of architecture in political discourse.

Don't miss the other lectures in The Berlage Archive series

Drawings from Famous Architects' Formative Stages to be Exhibited in St. Louis

00:00 - 17 August, 2014
Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum
Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

As a student of architecture, the formative years of study are a period of wild experimentation, bizarre use of materials, and most importantly, a time to make mistakes. Work from this period in the life of an architect rarely floats to the surface - unless you're Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, that is. A treasure trove of early architectural drawings from the world's leading architects has recently been unearthed from the private collection of former Architectural Association Chairman Alvin Boyarsky. The collection is slated to be shown at the Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, as a part of the exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association from September 12th to January 4th, 2015. 

Take a look at the complete set of architects and drawings for the exhibition after the break.

Bernard Tschumi, #4 K Series, 1985. Study for La Case Vide: La Villette, Folio VIII, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Lebbeus Woods, Center for New Technology, Montage 1, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Alex Wall, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), The Pleasure of Architecture, 1983. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Coop Himmelblau, Super Spaces, c. 1969. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum +10

From Autonomy to Automation: The Work of Peter Eisenman

01:00 - 14 April, 2014
From Autonomy to Automation: The Work of Peter Eisenman

BANAMID Architecture Research Institute in collaboration with AN.ONYMOUS will hold the third International conference from the “Contemporary Architecture: Iran and the World Dialogue” series in Tehran, Iran. The conference, titled “From Autonomy to Automation: The Work of Peter Eisenman” will focus on the defining legacy of Peter Eisenman spanning across 50 years of his intellectual and professional body of work. The conference will trace the evolution of Eisenman’s work over time and will examine its imprint on the contemporary discourse of architecture.

The Contentious Legacy of the IAUS

01:00 - 22 January, 2014
The Contentious Legacy of the IAUS, Peter Eisenman, the founder of IAUS. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com
Peter Eisenman, the founder of IAUS. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com

In this in-depth article on Design ObserverBelmont Freeman examines the resurgence of interest in the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, Peter Eisenman's radical, theory-based school that existed from 1967-1985, and questions: what has been the Institute's legacy in the 30 years since its demise? Read Freeman's thoughts in the full article here.

ISSUES? Concerning the projects of Peter Eisenman

00:00 - 12 October, 2013
ISSUES? Concerning the projects of Peter Eisenman

The conference will focus on Peter Eisenman's long and outstanding oeuvre.Thematization of almost 50 years of his theoretical and educational work and almost 25 years of his full-time architectural practice is seen here as vital to the understanding of both the past and the presence of contemporary architecture. From the questions related to Renaissance heritage to the problems associated with disciplinary autonomy and the digital, the conference aims to provide a space for a critical debate among architects and theorists.

Eisenman's Evolution: Architecture, Syntax, and New Subjectivity

01:00 - 23 September, 2013
Iman Ansari with Peter Eisenman in his office, New York 2013. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com
Iman Ansari with Peter Eisenman in his office, New York 2013. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com

In this article, which originally appeared on Architectural ReviewIman Ansari interviews Peter Eisenman about his personal views on architecture throughout the course of his career. 

Iman Ansari: More than any other contemporary architect, you have sought a space for architecture outside the traditional and conventional realm. You have continually argued that modern architecture was never fully modern and it failed to produce a cognitive reflection about the nature of architecture in a fundamental way.  From your early houses, we see a search for a system of architectural meaning and an attempt to establish a linguistic model for architecture: The idea that buildings are not simply physical objects, but artifacts with meaning, or signs dispersed across some larger social text. But these houses were also part of a larger project that was about the nature of drawing and representation in architecture. You described them as “cardboard architecture” which neglects the architectural material, scale, function, site, and all semantics associations in favor of architecture as “syntax”: conception of form as an index, a signal or a notation. So to me, it seems like between the object and the idea of the object, your approach favors the latter. The physical house is merely a medium through which the conception of the virtual or conceptual house becomes possible. In that sense, the real building exists only in your drawings.

Peter Eisenman: The “real architecture” only exists in the drawings. The “real building” exists outside the drawings. The difference here is that “architecture” and “building” are not the same.

An axonometric drawing of Eisenman’s House II, (1975). Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com Eisenman's unrealized Qaui Branly Museum in Paris. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com Model of Cannaregio project with House 11a at different scales (1978). Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com The cover of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" (2007) with a caption from Eisenman. Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com +17

SANAA's 'Cloud Boxes' Wins First Prize in Taichung City Competition

01:00 - 12 September, 2013
SANAA's 'Cloud Boxes' Wins First Prize in Taichung City Competition, First Prize. Image Courtesy of SANAA via Taichung City Cultural Center
First Prize. Image Courtesy of SANAA via Taichung City Cultural Center

SANAA, it is. In attempts to separate itself from its sister cities, Taichung City has named SANAA, led by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, winners of an international competition that intends to unite a newly formed city. As of December 2010, Taichung city executed a mega-merger that increased its population from 1 million inhabitants to 2.5 million, encompassing the skyscraping towers of downtown Taichung to the agricultural mountainside villages of Taichung County. As a result, the local government envisioned a new urban space that would place art at its core, celebrating the regions' disparate cultures. 

Landmark Preservation Versus Ownership

00:00 - 8 May, 2013
Vanna Venturi House / Robert Venturi; © Maria Buszek
Vanna Venturi House / Robert Venturi; © Maria Buszek

After years of disconcerting reports that the historic David and Gladys Wright House by Frank Lloyd Wright was under threat of demolition by developers, we announced that a generous benefactor saved it from its fate by providing funds to buy back the property. It seems that this particular story is not unique.  An article on ArchRecord by Frank A. Bernstein lists several other modern architecture treasures that may soon fall under the same threat as they hit the real estate market.

Find out more after the break.