Bernard Tschumi

  • Zaha Hadid

    PERHAPS MORE THAN any other architect of our time, Zaha Hadid was celebrated for the visible power of her forms. But to applaud only her spirals, wedges, folds, and ramps, no matter how luxuriant or stunning, reduces her full achievement, obscuring a quality shared by all great architecture—namely, that it deals with concepts and ideas that underlie what we perceive. Hadid frequently claimed that her work was misunderstood. The following remarks, addressing both the architectural (“Hadid”) and the personal (“Zaha”), configure an unusual talent and qualify a specific and significant moment

  • Bernard Tschumi

    With its undulating sculptural form—which can be interpreted as evoking a string of pearls—this building will be one of the city’s most poetic structures. It will also be an example of cutting-edge sustainable design. Its translucent skin will feature a high-performance exterior wall that controls the transfer of heat and light from outside with light-sensor-activated shades. Adding visual excitement to the building skin, revolving photovoltaic panels will harvest solar energy.

    —Presentation text of a typical architectural competition project ca. 2008

    AT A RECENT INTERNATIONAL

  • The art that inspired them in 2000

    Those of us who live and breathe contemporary art will hold to the idea that art does change, if not the world, then the way we live in it. But our “world” can be more insular than we care to admit. So to open our look back at 2000, we asked twenty-one “outsiders” we admire—from novelist J.G. Ballard to musician John Zorn—to tell us about the art that inspired them this year.

    Dave Eggers (novelist)

    About a year ago, I saw Marcel Dzama’s stuff in zingmagazine and fell madly in love. Then his show at David Zwirner just killed me. A hundred or so drawings (bears with handguns, whale-men

  • Introduction

    Program: a descriptive notice, issued beforehand, of any formal series of proceedings, as a festive celebration, a course of study etc. (. . .), a list of the items or “numbers” of a concert etc., in the order of performance; hence the items themselves collectively, the performance as a whole. . . .1

    An architectural program is a list of required utilities; it indicates their relations, but suggests neither their combination nor their proportion.2

    TO ADDRESS THE NOTION of the program today is to enter a forbidden field, a field architectural ideologies have consciously banished for decades.

  • Violence of Architecture

    There is no architecture without action, no architecture without events, no architecture without program. By extension, there is no architecture without violence.

    THE FIRST OF THESE STATEMENTS runs against the mainstream of contemporary architectural thought, whether “modernist” or “post-modernist,” by refusing to favor space at the expense of action. The second statement argues that although the logic of objects and the logic of man are independent in their relations to the world, they inevitably face one another in an intense confrontation. Any relationship between a building and its users is

  • Introduction

    THE LIMITS OF ARCHITECTURE are variable: each decade has its own ideal themes, its own confused fashions. Yet each of these periodical shifts and digressions raises the same question: are there recurrent themes, constants that are specifically architectural and yet always under scrutiny—an architecture of limits?

    As opposed to other disciplines, architecture rarely presents a coherent set of concepts—a definition—that displays both the continuity of its concerns and the more sensitive boundaries of its activity. However, a few aphorisms and dictums that have been transmitted through centuries of

  • Introduction

    IN THE WORK OF REMARKABLE writers, artists or composers one sometimes finds disconcerting elements located at the edge of their production, at its “limit.” These elements, disturbing and out of character, are misfits within the artist’s activity. Yet often such works reveal hidden codes and excesses hinting at other definitions, other interpretations.

    The same can be said for whole fields of endeavor: there are productions at the limit of literature, at the limit of music, at the limit of theater. Such extreme positions inform us about the state of art, its paradoxes and its contradictions. These