Publication

  • Architecture Unbound: The Deconstructivist Turn, A History
    Joseph Giovannini
    Author
    Rizzoli, 2015
  • GRANTEE
    Joseph Giovannini
    GRANT YEAR
    2014

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.

"On or about December 1910, human character changed."—Virginia Woolf, 1924

In 1983, architecture changed. Zaha Hadid won the Peak with a design that exploded geologically from a cliff; Peter Eisenman won the Wexner Center at The Ohio State University with a scaffold that detached perspective's vanishing point from the horizon; and Bernard Tschumi won Park de la Villette with a design of mixed use and multiple movement systems that set the park into play and instability, as though triggering an urban performance of unrelated Cagian events. The background, history, evolution, and transformation of deconstructivism has yet to be told in a 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 only in the radical 1960s and the psyches of architectural activists, but also in the seismic scientific and cultural events of the century, beginning with the discoveries of Heisenberg, Einstein, Hinton, Malevich, and El Lissitzky, and moving through Dada and Surrealism's asymmetrical war on linear logic, and on to poststructuralist philosophy. 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 movement is still alive, its practitioners are active, and its ideas remain self-transformative and evolving. This book will present a comprehensive overview of the subject's past and evolving present, explaining the roots and detailing the history of the movement that has arguably produced the most significant and celebrated buildings of the last thirty years.

Joseph Giovannini has written numerous articles on architecture, design, and urbanism over the last three decades for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Architectural Record, Art in America, Artforum, and Architecture magazine, among others. He has also served as the architecture critic for New York magazine and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner; he is currently contributing editor to Architect magazine, as well as a contributor to Interior Design, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Giovannini received his BA from Yale University, his MA in French language and literature form Middlebury College, and his MArch from Harvard University’s GSD; he has taught at Columbia University, the University of Innsbruck, Pratt Institute, and in the graduate schools of architecture at UCLA and USC. His awards include the Art World Magazine/Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust Award for distinguished architectural criticism in a newspaper, a grant from the NEA, and as architecture critic for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.