Sep '06 - Dec '09
I will now begin live blogging about the Eisenman Herzog Conversation today at the GSD. No photos to go with the narration as I forgot my camera (I will get some later). If you would like, check or refresh this page every once in a while it as I will be updating this post every 15-20 mins.
5:25 PM - Already in line for 10 minutes, the event starts at 6PM, but GSD students are allowed in via the super secret way at 5:30PM. The line is long and around the building by now. I am plugged in and working on analyzing some details of the Kimmel Center for my Building Tech class.
5:32 PM - I'm in Piper, still working
5:48 PM Piper is full, working
6:06 PM - The show gets started with some words by Toshiko, "putting this together was like herding cats, three BIG cats", apparently Jacques was Aldo Rossi's TA and Eisenman practices what he preaches.
6:10 PM - Kipnis starts by pointing out the guests differences, Herzog as last of the humanist architects, Eisenman thinks that building should be stripped from other concerns and stick to an autonomous practice
-Kipnis asks Jacques, what it means to be the last humanist architect. Jacques says that architecture works in many aspects and affect the senses.
6:14 PM - Eisenman says that since Kipnis did not do a good a job describing their differences he will, Jacques is about phenomenology, Eisenman is conceptual (using Kipnis' Conceptual - Phenomenological - Performative classification system)
6:17 PM - Architecture should be visual and conceptual, creating sensual space. Herzog compliments Eisenman on Berlin, he says that like China Berlin realizes that Structure, Ornament, and Space are one thing
6:21 PM Kipnis, talks to Peter saying that in the 70's paper architects forced you to move outside the project and look at process, etc... you would have to know about the project to really understand it. In Berlin, it is similar, you have to move outside the project and see it from the air to understand hte new ground Eisenman has created. This conversation is about the conceptual project that Kipnis says Eiseman is a part of.
Eisenman agrees and says that this was part of the objective and that Serra works in this way.
6:25PM - Jacques, disagrees with Kipnis' idea of the conceptual project. Herzog says that the concept and the realization of this project have a very thin line. Serra's work is both intellectual and material and sensual. Jacques says that he has read Eisenman fighting with Serra in magazines, making him (Jacques) furious. This is turning fun, Herzog is getting animated.
6: 27PM - aml, thanks for posting the live webcast, I can now move on to commentary and not play for play.
6:30PM - Eisenman says that there is a difference between interior vs. exterior corners as part of the reason he cannot work on facades.
This is the problem I have always had with Eisenman's ideas, they focus to the point of losing their power. Is it OK to be conceptual without a since of physical reality? I think that at the end you lose interest in a project that doesn't sensually call your attention. Also I think Eisenman is even disingenuous his work in Berlin and Spain are beginning to bring back a since of materiality and physicality that do not require you to buy his book.
6:35PM - Jacques Herzog - "we are not just interested in porn" in the context of sensuality and the conceptual, best quote so far.
6:37PM - Why is Eisenman so defensive about his Jewish background informing his architecture (in the context of the Berlin memorial)? His adherence to text and an unbiased process is too much, how can you not bring something personal into a project like that? I mean you shouldn't over do it (Libeskind and 1776) lest you become kitsch, but denying it seems disingenuous.
6:42PM - Kipnis: you cannot understand Koolhaas without knowing the Calivinist tradition? wow, that sounds interesting...
6:45PM - Why are we still talking about whether or not Eisenman is a Jewish architect? Seems silly. Good, Kipnis is moving on going back to the real questions:
-Is it conceited to ask people to go read a book after seeing a window, or can materials and physicality communicate the underlying political argument of the architecture?
6:50PM - Herzog is talking about Duschamp (conceptual) and Picasso (phenomelogical?). It is ok because art is a tool to understand the world. So debate is over...
-Jacques cannot remember Leonardo Da Vinci?
6:55PM - I really do not buy Herzog's argument that it is not important to compare ideas and seeing what works best, specially in the context of architecture. In the built environment a conceptual vs. phenomenological vs. performative project can have major impact to the systems we live with. That is, of course, if anyone is to pay to attention to architects.
6:57PM - Jacques just brought up an issue that goes back to the issue of an architect showing her or his ethnicity: how languages change the way you think about things. He brings up how in German and English there are only one word for corners but in Spanish there are two (rincon, esquina). This does two things, IMHO, 1- brings into question Eisenman's ideas of architecture as a universal text, and I think that it recognizes that a creator cannot help but put her or his background into the product at the end of the creative process.
7:00PM - Eisenman has an annual strategy session to set the creative processes for the way things rest of the year.
7:05PM - I guess Richard Serra was fired because Helmut Kohl himself fired him...
7:10PM - Eisenman is getting into politics, and how he likes working for conservatives. I think it misses the point of the question on ideological architecture. Jacques says that politically ideological work doesn't interest me. He likes to work from an place of ideas.
"If you try to educate people, this is the most unsexy thing you can do" - Jacques Herzog
7:13PM - Peter Eisenman bring up a really good point, how most good film has come out from political ideologies.
7:15PM - ABOUT INTERNS!!!
Eisenman - doesnt pay foreign interns. Eisenman is saying that the question was snarky and that he loves the system of unpaid interns. He thinks that it is OK because it happens in other professions.
Note to Peter: what about those of us that cannot afford one minute of work without pay, is your idea to keep architecture only within a narrow group of people that can afford to work for nothing? To me it is not an issue of being good to suffer while you are young, but that it quite frankly creates two architecture worlds, one that can afford to work for nothing for starchitects (getting the letter of recommendation, etc.. that we know matters for things like getting into college), and the rest of us that just cannot. How can we be progressive thinkers when we allow access to only one group?
7:26PM - Peter Eisenman - What is the role of architecture:
-To feed the profession
-To break apart and learn the processes of the field
-To theorize (something about PhD's
Princeton - more interested in Practice, Harvard in Profession, and Yale somewhere in the middle
7:31PM - Herzog feels misunderstood, he is not an architect of facades, he wants to attract people inside the building. It is easier to capture surfaces and not space.
7:33PM - Herzog feels like you cannot over-stretch democracy. China was done via open processes community involvement as is a museum he is doing in Miami. He says that for sure he will listen to people in Miami more than China but will not be final.
Kipnis says something I find interesting, that the open processes have as a a framework that everyone has about the same architectural knowledge and that architects are poll takers and image makers.
7: 40 Q: What do you guys think is the social role of architecture today (against the heroic modern)?
A: No one seems to answer it directly
Eisenman is criticizing Kipnis because the conversation did not knock them off their positions, rather affirming their public personas. Kipnis is saying that he wanted this to happen, and that this conversation is only a start.
With that I am done guys, back to work.
Photo by Ji Hyun Yoo