Learning From The Master #23 Peter Eisenman

“ The architecture we remember is that which never console or comfort us “

Peter Eisenman was born in Newark, New Jersey on august 1932 from a Jewist parents. He gave up his position on swimming team as he began to commit full time study in architecture and received a Bachelor degree from Cornell university, a master of architecture degree from Columbia University, and Ph.D degrees from the University of Cambridge. Also, a Honorary degree from Syracuse University School of Architecture in 2007.

Since his doctoral thesis, The Formal Basis of Modern Architecture (1963), Eisenman started to questioning the classical idea of form. For him, form is a field of possibilities, in which any hierarchy of meaning among its constitutive elements is totally dissolved. Form is therefore an ordering action, the systematization of internal dialectical forces, and what appears is the result of the interaction between internal forces and external constraints.

To venture into his complex tangle of different phases, projects, or essays, implies the risk of becoming trapped in an undiversified accumulation of concepts. In From Formalism to Weak Form books, Eisenman’s career has been structured around a series of key-words or concepts that help to define a heterogeneous and interconnected cartography that is detached from any hierarchial configuration. Each of the following chapters describes a precise evolutionary line that confronts the problem of form in architecture and permits a definition of Eisenman’s personal cosmology :

Basis
Formal Terrorism
Archeology
Deconstruction
Arbitrariness
Process
Affect

In his 80 years old, one may say that what Eisenman has built an open theory, based on a flexible and always adaptable methodology. In this sense, both his doctoral thesis and the 2003 book on Terragni (Giuseppe Terragni: transformations, Decompositions, Critiques ), responds to the same need: to apply open criteria in reading modernity.

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