Peter Eisenman and Anthony Vidler: A Conversation

A discussion between Yale School of Architecture Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice Peter Eisenman and Dean of the Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Anthony Vidler, in which they discuss the work and influence of the Pritzker Prize winning architect and former Yale professor, James Stirling.

Peter Eisenman (born August 11, 1932) is an American architect. Eisenman’s professional work is often referred to as formalist, deconstructive, late avant-garde, late or high modernist, etc. A certain fragmenting of forms visible in some of Eisenman’s projects has been identified as characteristic of an eclectic group of architects that were (self-)labeled as deconstructivists, and who were featured in an exhibition by the same name at the Museum of Modern Art. The heading also refers to the storied relationship and collaborations between Peter Eisenman and post-structuralist thinker Jacques Derrida.

Video by YaleUniversity

Peter Eisenman’s writings have pursued topics including comparative formal analyses; the emancipation and autonomization of the discipline; and histories of Architects including: Giuseppe Terragni, Andrea Palladio, Le Corbusier and James Stirling. While he has been referred to as a polarizing figure,[citation needed] such antagonistic associations are likely prompted by Colin Rowe’s 1972 criticism that the work pursues physique form of European modernism rather than the utopian social agendas (See “Five Architects,” (New York: Wittenborn, 1972)) or more recent accusations that Eisenman’s work is “post-humanist” (Perhaps because his references to the Renaissance are ‘merely’ formal). While his apathy towards the recent “green” movement is considered polarizing or “out-of-touch”, this architect-artist (with drawings held by major collections) was also an early advocate of computer aided design. Eisenman employed fledgling innovators such as Greg Lynn and Ingeborg Rocker as early as the 1989.[citation needed] Despite these claims of polarity and autonomization, Eisenman has famously pursued dialogues with important cultural figures internationally. These include his English mentor Colin Rowe, the Italian historian Manfredo Tafuri, George Baird, Fredric Jameson,[citation needed] Laurie Olin, Rosalind Krauss and Jacques Derrida. In addition to his vast literary contributions (as editor, curator, and writer) and professional practice, Eisenman’s reputation as a critic and professor of architecture is similarly famed.


Categories: Lectures


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