About this talk

Running time: 29 minutes

Peter Eisenman was born in New Jersey and studied architecture at Cornell University (1951 - 1955), Columbia University (1959 - 1960) and Cambridge, England (1966 - 1963). He taught at Cambridge until 1967, then at Princeton for a year, followed by brief spells at Cooper Union, New York, the American Academy in Rome and the University of Maryland, and then at Harvard. But it was as founder-director of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, from 1967 - 1982, that he had the greatest influence. It provided a forum for discussion and became the most public and polemic voice on the East coast, extending its influence through its learned magazine "Oppositions", launched in 1973, which Eisenman edited during the decade of its existence, as well as through its monthly newspaper "Skyline".

Eisenman ran his own practice during these years and exhibited in, or organised exhibitions in the USA, Italy and England, dealing with urban design and renewal, housing, Rationalism, drawing, as well as showing the houses he has designed. In this talk he says that, whereas Post Modernism simulates a fervour for simulation and a return to history, he seeks to create a "topos", a place for invention, not representing anything, just being. He illustrates this with his most recent work, the building won in competition for the Ohio State Visual Art Center in Columbus, Ohio. This project, he says, invents its origins, its site, its program, even its history, thus being an act of dissimulation; and it invents its own representation, thus becoming a text, a record of its own history, the history of the act of making the architecture.

This is the first of Eisenman's talks for Pidgeon Digital – his second from 2009 can be found here: The Rise Of The Media Architect.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Peter Eisenman


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