How to dismantle the war of architecture A Deconstructivist Edit
Nicole Bone, Brianna Crittendon, Roman Chiago + Yu-chao chen
The Medium is the Massage
In blindly submitting to the trends of Modernity, we created our very own Pandora’s Box - where the lack of consideration in consequences, this case, Modern design decisions, have unleashed an internal war for humanity - a mind-numbing desensitization in assuming universal solutions. Is originality lost? Have we exhausted our independent minds? Awareness of our identities are threatened when this War of Architecture consumes our daily routines. The repercussions of architectural Modernity have infiltrated themselves into our subconscious, “we approach the new with the psychological conditioning and sensory responses of the old.1 How has this ﬂawed system affected our ability, as designers, to evaluate and create our programmatic units of living, both in public and private spheres? Designers, speciﬁcally architects, are translators of our social assessments; always current - with theories established from in the movements of the past. In challenging the use of space, the trickling of anti-authoritarian opposition permeated the ideals of Deconstructive architecture, where assumptions, brought forth by dictatorial structures, are questioned in order to disassemble the paradigms of universal Modernism. The mediating stability in architectural structures is confronted by the embrace of fragmentation. Jacques Derrida, father of Deconstructivist philosophy, rooted his theories in the practice of “science studies” where “the mixture has come to include not only history, sociology, and philosophy, but also cultural anthropology, classics, economics...cultural studies, and critical theory. Within the scope of architecture, the building “is no longer the generator and machine, no longer the central image,” but rather architecture is transformed into a symbol of corruption, where imperfections furnish our realities, eroding the notion of architectural certainty 2 3
Deconstructivism is not dogmatic 4 “Deconstruction is an indication of how we perceive our lives today...a protest against the consumer...the ready made product” - Heinrich Klotz5 As iconoclasts of Modernity, Deconstructivists analyze the organizations of society, transforming architecture into a conversation piece for our sensual, three-dimensional spaces, unriddling the human mind. If deconstruction doubles as a seminal influence, design decisions carried out by these architects provoke a dialogue in each individual experiencing the discomfort of the spaces created.
1 Marshall McLuhan, 94. 2 Peter Godfrey-Smith, 120. 3 Deconstructivist Architects, 12:30. 4 Deconstructivism, 23 March 2016 5 Deconstructivist Architects, 52:00
What is reality? What is comfort? How does the use of architecture affect our daily lives? The designer instills the inkling of discomfort - a propaganda against authoritative social dictations. The individual has the power to change the defective, inherited systems of the past. We are trying to ﬁx today’s issues with yesterday’s tools. We have settled in the “psychological conditioning and sensory responses of the old.” This is a manifesto, a promotion of interrogating the absolution reality, an editing of the truth. What is reality? What is comfort? How does the use of architecture affect our
daily lives? Now pause
We have already tabled this admirable and affirmative application of though into a movement of the time past. It seems as though Deconstructivist design has already started transitioning into a movement of the past, relived and commemorated in built works and history books, a movement phasing from application and into a subject of study. As a theory and a practice, the Deconstructivist value system is what has given contemporary architecture a voice. However, through the tests of time, Deconstructivist design has transformed itself into a stylistic practice in crusading against authoritative structures. Sleek and fluid forms cater to the testament of man’s greatness rather than accentuating indeterminate meanings within the structures that mediate our social structures. A shared value system is manifested in advocating for an improved quality of life in our contemporary time. However, an improved quality of life is not necessarily indicative of comfort; architecture is not necessarily a structure that provides us a sense of psychological shelter. In discomfort, we see the realities as they are. Deconstructivist design mostly resides in the realm of the monumental. In order for the value system to infiltrate into our daily practice and daily lives, we need to introduce this theory and design into our domestic sphere - into our homes. In embracing the fragmentation of power structures, we open our doors to this deconstructivist edit.
Deconstructivist Values The value system of deconstructivism have been all but forgotten in an effort to sweep the principles and ideals under the carpet. In its place, we now have an empty shell, void of anything that comes remotely close to pushing the envelope of what we’ve come to know. However, in order to truly test the limits of architecture, and get the answers that we all yearn for, these six values must be revisited; only then will we know the true meaning of the deconstructivist movement. To embrace fragmentation is to realize that the fractured parts of a whole can be reimagined into a new entity. Often times, the viewer needs to see something in its completeness in order for it to be recognized or praised. However, in a world of imperfections, Architecture is never truly complete, as it is ever changing. Our work should question authority. Why do we accept authoritative structures as absolute truths? There must be a push for us to question the very systems that govern our everyday lives; we can no longer allow these structures to dictate us. When we challenge the truth, we can challenge our idea of ‘wholeness.’ Is anything ever whole? Why are we unable to change assumptions? There is an expectation that has been set by the masses to do what is asked and follow a set of guidelines. The assumption is that rules will be abided by, cultural norms will remain unchanged and future actions will be based on what has worked in the past. However, we can rewrite the script when it comes to architecture and envision a new way of thinking, simply by challenging the assumptions. There should be a push for the erosion of architectural certainty. Comfort has evolved to become a desirable factor of any given space, the idea of shelter. This is why architecture, thus far, carries its identity in certainty. What happens if we disorient the user’s relationships with objects and space? Invoking discomfort toward the individual is the primary step in chiseling away at the certainty of today’s architecture. Iconoclast of the Individual: In disassembling the part of the whole, we test the organizations of society, breaking the ideals of our power structures. In responding to phenomenology, we eliminate the notion of a utopic world in rewriting architecture - something more important that what it looks like, freeing architecture from what constitutes architecture. We must recognize and accept imperfections. A mixture of historic and contemporary is essential to the enrichment of a building. The imperfections created by an “unfinished” object can be seen as unsettling, but it can also shock you out of false consciousness. Materiality has become a precious aspect of the built environment, and rarely does anyone see the value of commonplace ingredients. In the end, the goal of these six values begs the larger question: What’s next? How can we use these ideals to better the future of architecture? How can challenge the status quo and change the universal ways of thinking? While the answer is not quite clear just yet, these values bring us closer than we’ve ever been before to finding a new solution, one that will be beneficial to us all.
Eisenman House Iv
We did a survey on campus and asked people how they think about deconstructive architecture. We showed the people interviewed two homes within deconstructive architecture, one is the Gehry Residence, from Frank Gehry, and House VI, from Peter Eisenman. We digitally placed the buildings in different community environments - neighborhoods, one newer and one older. We interviewed a wide range of people, from age to nationality, but the results were quite similar. People think that the Gehry residence is not a prefered home, they think it only fits into the older community or think it does not fit in both, because of its impression from the exterior. People think that the House VI is a house they would like to live in, they think from its exterior it gives an impression of a house that would more similarly meld with the aesthetics of the neighborhood. People comes from a variety of backgrounds, providing different perspectives on preferences within a house. One interviewee said that he liked both, as long as it is a house. After the survey we explained to them that deconstructivist architecture is intended to make people feel uncomfortable, even though the House VI looks livable, but its function is not quite act as the same way. A survey conducted on-campus is just at the cusp as to what the general consensus for the community can provide; by asking the people in the surrounding and expansive community, an accurate consensus toward deconstructivist architecture can be reached. In addition, questions like if you have a chance to obtain deconstructivist values and styles within a residence, would live in one, moreover, would deconstructive architecture be a better choice other than regular residential house to live in? Would deconstructivist architecture be a better fit for public buildings over residential buildings? To move forward with the project, we can narrow down the thesis more specifically. Thinking of more direct questions like what is the difference between public deconstructivist architecture versus that within the private realm? Why does deconstructivist architecture mostly appear in urban areas, and not other spheres? As an architecture student, I think in order to make deconstructivist architecture more appealing to the general public, a significant project needs to be built, where this project is providing access to all demographics, where people can understand how it functions.
Bibliography Deconstructivist Architects. 1989. Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Hejduk, Renata. “Deconstructivism.” Lecture, March 23, 2016. McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage. New York: Bantam Books, 1967.
Published on May 14, 2016
A group project from Dr. Renata Hejduk's 4th year Undergraduate "First Concepts" course. Completed by students: Nicole Bone, Brianna Critten...