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Blog Interview 18 Jun Tschumi, famous as the original great agent provocateur of deconstruction in the s — his Parc de la Villette project in Paris launched a thousand student project imitators — has since developed a practice honed by an understanding of architecture as a discipline constantly in dialogue with other disciplines like film, art and literature.
Evelyn Steiner of S AM talked to Tschumi about his practice, the influence of Cedric Price on his work and how after years of the dominance of form in architecture, the idea of architecture as a place of events is becoming current again. Why do you think that is? I have no idea!
Though that show of course exhibited far less built work than is now in Basel, it already combined a lot of important projects: How do you feel being confronted with your work in a retrospective, as a historical overview?
Is there a strange sense of definitive-ness? There are things which have been done and things in the making. The show as conceived for the Centre Pompidou was very much evennt both. Things done include my earlier research work of the s, the Parc de la Villette of the s, and a series of explorations, through projects but also through books: At one moment we decided to turn everything into cties book as simultaneously documentation but also a sort of manifesto.
The theme was that architecture is importantly first as the materialisation of concepts and ideas. We developed the show relating to five parts of the book: We were trying to raise a few important questions, not about my architecture, but about architecture in general directing these questions towards a wider audience: Is it possible to mediate the intellectual and theoretical approach to your work through an exhibition primarily perceived in a visual way?
It seems somehow ambivalent: Are there nonetheless traces tschumu your Swiss architectural education in your architecture? But I worked very well with both professors who were very intelligently open evvent Hoesli had come back from the US, Schader was very objective and I have a great respect for the two. I was fascinated by the idea not of the present, but of the future and I eevnt it very much in the work of Cedric Price in England.
You studied only six years before Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron at the ETH, and cuties a similar educational background and foundation, yet developed in a very different direction. What happened within these six years? His arrival is often seen as a turning point in the history of the ETH due to his rigorous approach, encouraging his students to think of architecture as architecture again after years of experimentation with sociological and philosophical methodologies I find it indeed very interesting that we studied only six years apart.
Of course in between the political upheaval of happened, and on either side these two important figures: That period between the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies twchumi very short but very interesting historically.
Today, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, many architects have developed a scepticism of form as a kind of statement against a self-referential starchitecture formed by neoliberalism. Your definition of architecture as a space for events, not in terms of its form seems to have received fresh impetus and your own idols like Cedric Price are being appreciated again.
How do you see this development? I feel a bit ambiguous about it, because Cedric was simultaneously an inventor and political provocateur. What I mean is that quite often the answer is cties important than the question.
Thresholds/Bernard Tschumi: Architecture and Event | MoMA
Writing the programme was more important than designing the response in form of a building. Today I do not know if we are capable of doing this. What did you think? I cties happy that Cedric was talked about, but irritated by the spectacle aspect: To turn something that was purposefully, intentionally low key on the part of Cedric into a show, a zoo, was perhaps not the best way to ask the question. Vacheron Constantin Headquarters, Geneva, Film as a medium encompassing space and event had a great impact especially on your early architectural work.
A lot of architects seem to have a passion or obsession for film, sharing similar practices in their perception and representation of space. When film arrived as a completely new media, had to be developed: But at the same it could be used for a purpose, for defending ideas, which is fascinating. These films are fascinating commentaries, explorations even on the ideas of the city and the idea of the house.
These are cjties of the discourse of space.
Event-Cities 2 (The MIT Press): Bernard Tschumi: : Books
I always insist that architecture is not about the knowledge of form, but the form citeis knowledge. But we are not the only ones who have the right to talk about this form of knowledge, others can talk about it, too.
As an architect, I am allowed to make a film, I am allowed to write a book. I always say, that we are all in a society with an exchange, with import and export.
I think what happens in film, what happens in art and in literature is as much part of my own work. You have a citiez interest in cities; you did your internship during your ETH studies in Paris, went to London after your degree and moved then to New York. Nowadays, you live and work in New York and Paris. Now you are now working and living on both sides of the Atlantic, in New York as well as in Paris. Can you feel this inner conflict? Or does your bi-national lifestyle correspond to your work and theoretical thinking: As far as I am concerned personally, no, there is no paradox.
It is like I live citjes the same big city. In this metaphorical city there are two neighbourhoods I like best: I go from one to the other almost the same way you use to cross the Limmat in Zurich.
With every journey, you somehow make a mental spatial montage, a filmic cut between the two continents….
The journey is often seamless, what you could call in montage a fade in and a fade out. Some other times it is more of a jump cut, but it is still a normal thing. But I love New York and I feel very much at home there. I have the main office in New York but I have another smaller office in Paris. For me and for my work it works well. It changes all the time. As you know, the pyramid and the labyrinth are complementary, so the two cities are complementary as well….
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Tumblr New and existing Tumblr users can connect with uncube and share our visual diary. With every journey, you somehow make a mental spatial montage, a filmic cut between the two continents… Yes absolutely. As you know, the pyramid and the labyrinth are complementary, so the two cities are complementary as well… ———— — Evelyn Steiner is an architect and art historian and curator at S AM Swiss Architecture Museum. Keeping It un Real Behind the facade of starchitect video marketing.
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