on 26 April 2014
Nothing is worst in Architecture than a book by an Architect who is in love with himself.
This book is near unreadable, while one can tolerate a writer like Jonathan Meades who uses his large vocabulary effectively, with Tschumi I cannot help but feel he is just using big words to show off and dose not really grasp the meaning of at least half of them anyway. Good architectural writing is easily readable, it does not hide behind a cloak of pretentious buzzwords and meaningless non sentences unless it has something to hide.
What's more despite all his writing his actually buildings are utterly dire. His Columbia university building is like a provincial leisure centre by an architect who thinks he's far cleverer than he really is. It is all show off spaces that are not that impressive and dark dank corners to hide all the people in.
While some may argue his actual buildings are irrelevant to his writing, after all Robert Venturi was a terrible architect as well, but a great writer. However with Tschumi's writing the same self satisfied smugness is present that is in his buildings, the sense all he's really doing is thinking without a connection to reality in a field that really needs that connection to the real world.
Without that connection then the writing becomes more like philosophy but Tschumi is no Bertrand Russell, Immanuel Kant or even Alain de Botton. A footballer who picks up the ball does not instantly become a good rugby player nor does a architectural writer become a good philosopher because he thinks more philosophically
This kind of writing on architecture is becoming deeply unfashionable and I can only rejoice. There is a real world to think about that is far more interesting and far more reinvent to architecture.
on 13 August 1998
This book is a compilation of essays regarding several architectural themes under a particularly radical point of view. Tschumi proposes, all through the 20 or so years of intellectual work, a complex architecture based on the heterogeneous nature of human behavior and the events it produces and leads, but also introduces an element of architectural reflection criticizing contemporary concepts -the architecture as skin- and its ephemeral condition, a postmodern zeigeist. I personally think is a manifest upon architectural themes conditioned by the unconscious prejudices carried by architectural scholars formed under the shade of modernism, showing the particular fracture of theory and practice in the field work and calling the things by its names, evidencing the mediatic circumstance of architectural development amidst the revolution of communication and -as an excel teacher- imparting his own good points of view. I think it's a book from and for heterotopia.