Event-Cities 3: Concept vs. Context vs. There is no architecture without a concept , an overriding idea that gives coherence and identity to a building. But there is also no architecture without context —historical, geographical, cultural—or content what happens inside. Concept , context , and content may be in unison or purposely discordant.
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Tschumi is a permanent US resident. Over his almost forty-year career, his built accomplishments number over sixty, including theoretical projects. After school and prior to winning the Parc de La Villette competition, he built his reputation as a theorist through his writings and drawings.
Additionally, academic teaching positions have been held at Princeton University, Cooper Union, and the Architectural Association in London. He established his practice in in Paris with the Parc de La Villette competition commission. Since the s, Tschumi has argued that there is no fixed relationship between architectural form and the events that take place within it.
The ethical and political imperatives that inform his work emphasize the establishment of a proactive architecture which non-hierarchically engages balances of power through programmatic and spatial devices. A big influence on this work were the theories and structural diagramming by the Russian cinematographer Sergei Eisenstein produced for his own films. Best exemplified in his own words as, "the football player skates across the battlefield.
His use of event montage as a technique for the organization of program systems of space, event, and movement, as well as visual and formal techniques challenged the work other contemporary architects were conducting which focused on montage techniques as purely formal strategies. Tschumi positioned his work to suggest alternatives to this endgame. In he published an essay entitled The Pleasure of Architecture in which he used sexual intercourse as a characterizing analogy for architecture.
He claimed that architecture by nature is fundamentally useless, setting it apart from "building". He demands a glorification of architectural uselessness in which the chaos of sensuality and the order of purity combine to form structures that evoke the space in which they are built. He distinguishes between the forming of knowledge and the knowledge of form, contending that architecture is too often dismissed as the latter when it can often be used as the former. Tschumi used this essay as a precursor to a later eponymous series of writings detailing the so-called limits of architecture.
Landscaping , spatial and programmatic sequences in the park were used to produce sites of alternative social practice that challenged the expected use values usually reinforced by a large urban park in Paris. Tschumi has continued this design agenda in a variety of design competitions and built projects since The Tokyo National Theater and Opera House project continued the research that Tschumi began in The Manhattan Transcripts, importing notational techniques from experimental dance and musical scores, and using the design process itself to challenge habitual ways of thinking about space, in contrast to earlier static, two dimensional representational techniques which delineated the outline of a building but not the intensity of life within it.
At a local scale in his Video Pavilion at Groningen, transparent walls and tilted floors produce an intense dislocation of the subject in relation to norms like wall, interior and exterior, and horizon. At the urban scale in such projects as the Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, in Tourcoing, France, and the architecture school at Marne la Vallee, France both completed , larger spaces challenge normative program sequence and accepted use.
The Le Fresnoy complex accomplishes this by its use of the space between the roofs of existing buildings and an added, huge umbrella roof above them which creates an interstitial zone of program on ramps and catwalks. This zone is what Tschumi calls the in-between, a negation of pure form or style that had been practiced in the ZKM Karlsruhe competition project, where a large atrium space punctuated by encapsulated circulation and smaller program episodes developed a more local network of interstitial space.
With these projects Tschumi opposed the methods used by architects for centuries to geometrically evaluate facade and plan composition. In this way he suggested that habitual routines of daily life could be more effectively challenged by a full spectrum of design tactics ranging from shock to subterfuge: by regulating events, a more subtle and sophisticated regime of defamiliarizations was produced than by aesthetic and symbolic systems of shock.
By arguing that there is no space without event, he designs conditions for a reinvention of living, rather than repeating established aesthetic or symbolic conditions of design. Through these means architecture becomes a frame for "constructed situations," a notion informed by the theory, city mappings and urban designs of the Situationist International.
The museum offers a seemingly placid stance, focused on the impressive Athenian light and landscape while remaining precise in imagination and sophisticated in form. Most currently, the Greek mathematician Nikos Salingaros claims that the New Acropolis Museum clashes with the traditional architecture of Athens and continues to unnecessarily threaten historical buildings nearby.
It is thoroughly 21st-century, but it is not starchitecture, or anything like it.
Tschumi has already expanded the field of contemporary architectural theory through his writings. Now, with Event-Cities, he enlarges some of his earlier concerns to address the issue of cities and their making. Event-Cities explores contemporary architecture through its confrontation with the major programs defining the edge of the twenty-first century - airports, business centers, multipurpose railroad "cities," downtown areas, and multimedia art centers, as well as video installations and domestic environments. Using different modes of notation ranging from rough models to sophisticated computer-generated images and testing various means to inscribe the movement of bodies in space, Tschumi reveals the complexities of the architectural process and the rich texture of architectural events that define the nature of urban reality. Event-Cities unfolds a new type of architectural documentation, far removed from the glossy picture books that have become the major means of presenting architectural projects - a "project discourse" that may be as extensive and precise as any theoretical or critical text.