• Architecture Unbound: The Deconstructivist Turn, A History
    Joseph Giovannini

The Peak, a leisure club in Hong Kong, China (1982–83), as seen at the top of the mountain in the context of the Hong Kong cityscape. Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

The background, history, evolution, and transformation of deconstructivism has yet to be told comprehensively in a synoptic book that chronicles and analyzes the movement that abruptly eclipsed postmodernism and pivoted architecture into the computer era. The roots of the movement are embedded not just in the radicalizing 1960s and the psyches of architectural activists, but just as deeply in seismic scientific and cultural events of the century. Starting with the discoveries and theories of Heisenberg, Einstein, Hinton, Malevich, and El Lissitzky, the impulse moved through Dada and Surrealism's asymmetrical war on linear logic, and well after the war, into poststructuralist philosophies. The complexity of deconstructivist architecture precipitated the need for the algorithmic IQ of the computer, and the computer in turn encouraged ever greater complexity. The architects of the movement are practicing, and have produced the most prominent and significant buildings of the last thirty years. The ideas, always a force-field of concepts rather than a hierarchy of fixed beliefs, have been self-transformative and evolving. The monuments of the movement have been well published individually, but they remain only the visible tip of the unseen iceberg: the logic and the cultural impetus below the surface have never been deeply probed and understood.

Joseph Giovannini has written thousands of articles on architecture and design for three decades for such publications as the New York Times, Architectural Record, Art in America, Art Forum, and Architecture Magazine. He has also served as the architecture critic for New York Magazine and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. A graduate of Yale, Giovannini also has an Madge in French language and literature from La Sorbonne, Paris's Middlebury College Program, as well as an MArch from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He has taught advanced and graduate studios at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, UCLA's Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the University of Southern California's School of Architecture, the University of Innsbruck, and currently at the Pratt Institute. Giovannini has won awards, grants, and honors from the Art World Magazine/Manufacturer's Hanover Trust for distinguished newspaper architectural criticism, the National Endowment for the Arts, and commendations from the Los Angeles Chapter of the AIA and the California Council of the AIA. While serving as the architecture and urban design critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.