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    Lecture - Peter Eisenman

    Dustin Page
    Oct 20, '14 5:56 PM EST

    This past weekend, Peter Eisenman of Eisenman Architects presented a lecture at the Knowlton School titled "The Discipline of Architecture". Here, he addressed the state of architecture schools in relation to their past, specifically how his experience differed from what he sees in schools now.  Really, the lions share of the talk was more inspirational than anything, urging students to reevaluate how they operate within the school and how they pull from architectural history.

    Photo Credit: Phil Arnold


    After settling, Eisenman then took the crowd on a journey through the City of Culture of Galicia, pulling the project apart and allowing the students an in-depth explanation of the relationships within and without that the city-in-a-city wishes to create. Stepping through the multiple scales, from the city scale, to the minor detail, it was wonderful to get a walk through by the architect himself.

    Photo Credit: Phil Arnold


    More information about the school and a full schedule of lectures can be found at Previous lectures can be viewed at


    • Carrera

      Did he explain the part about his belief that its not the architects job to keep buildings from leaking?

      Mar 5, 15 10:58 am

      how they pull from architectural history

      Isn't this the same jackass who said ignore the lessons of history?

      Eisenman said that “architecture is a locus of the metaphysics of presence.” Then providing a more tangible explanation, he explained that Deconstructivist architecture seeks to remove all rules and systems from architecture, stripping it of all the codified methods of the past. 

      Mar 5, 15 12:48 pm

      Eisenman is revered as a God among mortals in academia.  Still, besides the Holocaust memorial (which is obviously an abstraction of the graveyard...not as deep as his followers make it out to be...) I have not seen one good building he has done.  He does however write many many things about why his work is so ingenious. 

      Mar 5, 15 2:15 pm

      On top of that, He walks around yelling at everyone and telling them how much better he is then them...If Bjark Ingles is Katy Perry...Eisenman is the architectural version of Kanye West

      Mar 5, 15 2:21 pm

      jla-x, I'm no fan of Eisenman. I cannot stand his arrogance. But the berlin monument is really a great work. 

      Mar 5, 15 5:23 pm

      Discussion hereabouts about how to become a successful architect……After Ohio State spent $15.8 Million for a do-over on the $43 Million Wexner Center (37%)  Peter Eisenman said he was pleased with how everything turned out and was quoted as saying "The thing that I've learned is, you give a building over to a client," he said. "It's theirs."….and also said "Architects expect buildings to have faults, like children"….. If you can get away with saying that and never be sued then you too can be a successful architect.

      Mar 5, 15 5:42 pm
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      Leaking is deconstructive...........Water can create the moment in time when Martin Heidegger's question and being, the Dasein of the material, confronts Nietzsche ' s eternal return of the waterproofing membrane and the membrane asks itself what does it want to be? The entire wall assembly becomes the social event in time when water enters the state of expansion and complexity at just under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It expands it's presence and bifurcation of its materiality lead to the ontological condition of non-linear behavior and the waterproofing rips like a Libeskind building window slices through a sharp shiny pointed object - the Libeskind gesture.... At this moment in time Tschumi notes the disjunctions of the membrane from its adjacent brethren and Lefevre claims the waters right to the interior. Only Peter Eisenman could take philosophy and make water an ontological rebel replicating political moments Giorgio Agamben writes himself into....only Eisenman.

      Mar 5, 15 6:57 pm

      davvid, I said besides the memorial.  Its good but not vietnam memorial good.  the rest of his work sucks.  not nearly 

      Mar 5, 15 8:17 pm

      Sorry Jla-x, missed the "besides the".

      Mar 5, 15 10:54 pm

      davvid, can you explain why you like the Berlin Memorial?

      Mar 6, 15 10:35 am

      Miles, think I know why, because it doesn't leak.

      Mar 6, 15 11:24 am

      Miles, have you experienced the monument first hand?

      As you enter the memorial the topography unexpectedly descends in a fast but subtle way. And very quickly you lose your orientation and you on;y see the sky, the stone walls and glimpses of people passing through. Sometimes people collide, sometimes you feel completely alone. Its very eerie and I'm sure its metaphorical richness depends somewhat on your own relationship to that history. Its also oddly contradictory because children are tempted to use it as a playground which again plays with ideas of innocence, corruption, awareness etc. I thought it was a very smart solution. Its hard to create a meaningful experience that is that rich in such a touristy area. 

      Mar 6, 15 4:47 pm

      Guess it does provide spiritual opportunities and you’re right these things need in-person evaluation – do you think they rent Amigo’s? Just having fun.

      Mar 6, 15 5:11 pm

      I find the Berlin Memorial entirely unnecessary as well as exploitative in many ways including politically by its juxtaposition with the US embassy. It is devoid of emotional impact, especially in comparison with the Vietnam Memorial or the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum - both of which brought me to tears.

      The Vietnam Memorial is a richly layered experience: the registry of soldiers killed, the tokens left for them, the reactions of visitors and your reflection in the polished granite.

      The Hiroshima museum - located near the remains of the building closest to the blast to remain standing - is entered from below, and the transition from the bright, sunny park into the cold, dark shadow of the immense, anonymous slab overhead is a physically and emotionally chilling experience. This is subtle and powerful effect.

      In Berlin there is little emotion and no subtlety, what you see is what you get. For me it's pretty much a cartoon, an obvious and simplistic abstraction without depth. Arlington is infinitely more powerful, and it is simply a cemetery.

      Mar 6, 15 6:27 pm

      Miles, You're again reducing architecture to a political calculation. 

      I also disagree with you about the Hiroshima Museum. That was not a subtle experience. It was exhibit after exhibit with more and more gruesome evidence. As an American visiting, it was just non stop sorrow and guilt but juxtaposed with the sometimes very cheesy vernacular of exhibition design. 

      I haven't visited the Vietnam memorial since I was 12, so its hard to really say much about that. 

      Arlington is extremely powerful but it is as much about life as it is about death. Seeing families grieving, seeing tourists, seeing military people. It isn't really a museum. 

      Mar 6, 15 7:05 pm

      No political calculation, just accurate observation. How do you think Berliners feel about it?

      You missed my point about Hiroshima entirely. I'd didn't say a word about the museum exhibits. And I never said Arlington was a museum, I simply used it as a counterpoint to Eisenman's infantile graveyard abstraction.

      You really should take some more time to read carefully and consider what other people are saying. You should also consider that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, and you don't have to like or agree with mine or anyone else's. But you should try to keep an open mind, because you can learn a lot from other people, especially those who think differently from you.

      I didn't say your opinion was wrong, I just stated my own, which you rejected because it was different for yours. That's juvenile.

      Mar 6, 15 7:33 pm


      Again, have you experienced the Berlin memorial first hand?

      Mar 6, 15 8:03 pm

      Yep. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was infinitely superior.

      Mar 6, 15 8:45 pm
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      davvid are you familiar with this? also in Berlin....

      wonder what the connection is here, if any?

      Mar 6, 15 8:52 pm

      Olaf, Yes. I wonder too. 

      Mar 6, 15 8:59 pm

      Funny, I really like the Garden of Exile. Go figure. Probably the only thing he's done that I like. I'll bet it was a throwaway done while he was busy butchering the Jewish Museum. 

      Mar 6, 15 9:08 pm
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      true story time Miles:

      so back in the midwest somewhere, I hung with the cool kids in Theory class in the back (we slept mostly), even though I'm probably the most theory prone practicing architect you will ever meet.  I live in duality......

      I would even cross out the questions on the exams and write stuff like "Wittgentstein said 'whereof one can not speak, thereof one must fall silent, this is an invalid question!'

      the prof. asked 'hey, any of you been to the newly opened Jewish Museum in Berlin by Libeskind?'

      I was the only one and noted "yeah didn't really like the building, but the garden was nice, not sure he even designed it."

      Mar 6, 15 10:09 pm
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      let's be clear by what I meant when I said nice, I don't quite have the wit that is required to do a crit....

      I toured the museum empty and full.  when it was empty Architects took you through the spaces.  my last pic is what you saw after you exited this tower in the dark. 

      The museum was more powerful empty than full, and the trek from the tower to garden kind of drove the message home.   you didn't leave the place the same.

      Mar 6, 15 10:12 pm

      "You didn't leave the place the same", that's a great phrase to define architecture.

      Mar 6, 15 10:21 pm
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      Carrera - if an architect can do that, they have succeeded.

      what disappoints me about Libeskind is after all that; and I remember reading in some book a speech he gave at some Bauhaus opening where he notes what made the Bauhaus radical was that one moment in time....unfortunately Libeskind like most (i.e. Gehry), just returns to what worked the first time.

      Every building by Libeskind since the Jewish Museum in Berlin, looks like the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

      Mar 6, 15 11:13 pm

      You don't leave the place the same

      could also be said about Sing Sing, Dachau, Lubyanka, etc.

      Mar 6, 15 11:30 pm

      "Every building by Libeskind since the Jewish Museum in Berlin, looks like the Jewish Museum in Berlin".

      Well, Walmart was successful doing it that way.

      Mar 6, 15 11:33 pm

      Eisenman should design Walmarts. It would be a perfect complement, cheap crap housed in expensive shit.

      Mar 6, 15 11:57 pm

      Ya, lets get back to Eisenman, I've got a boatload of shit on him....I thought he was Walmart's architect?

      Mar 7, 15 12:30 am
      Olaf Design Ninja_

      Carrera are we talking about this gem?

      I'm thinking Thayer-D and EKE would appreciate the scale and  the nod to Traditionalism of the loading dock in this last photo.

      Mar 7, 15 9:08 am

      All this is fascinating, but why do we still let that asshat Calatrava off the hook, truly he, is the biggest waste of skin.

      Mar 7, 15 11:51 pm

      Olaf, I forgot about that beauty, think that's the "unexpected topography" davvid was talking about....but isn't the second one Gehry? Bottles in a row?

      Out of respect for Gehry at least he knows he's full of shit, the other guy is a certified lunatic.

      Mar 8, 15 12:46 am

      The problem with Calatrava - and a major difference with Gehry - is that he's actually done some beautiful work. Some of his bridges are incredible. 

      Mar 8, 15 10:11 am
      vado retro

      i've heard from Eisenman before. Although I do like the Ohio State Grandpa visiting campus look, I really want to hear what the Buddy Holly impersonator has to say about things.

      Mar 8, 15 4:38 pm

      Vado - Eisenman returning to Ohio State to lecture about architecture is like a murderer returning to the scene of his crime and explaining how he enjoyed doing it.

      Mar 9, 15 11:02 am

      ... and being adored for it.

      Mar 9, 15 1:36 pm

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This blog will be a feeder for recent news, events and student work occurring at the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University. Posts will typically center around updates from the school's lecture series, exciting projects from recent student reviews and updates from other school events.

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