What Is Deconstructivism

Deconstructivism is a development of postmodern architecture that began in the late 1980s. It is characterized by ideas of fragmentation, an interest in manipulating ideas of a structure's surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which serve to distort and dislocate some of the elements of architecture, such as structure and envelope. The finished visual appearance of buildings that exhibit the many deconstructivist "styles" is characterized by a stimulating unpredictability and a controlled chaos.

Computer aided design is now an essential tool in most aspects of contemporary architecture, but the particular nature of deconstrucivism makes the use of computers especially pertinent. Three-dimensional modelling and animation (virtual and physical) assists in the conception of very complicated spaces, while the ability to link computer models to manufacturing jigs (CAM - Computer-aided manufacturing) allows the mass production of subtly different modular elements to be achieved at affordable costs. In retrospect many early deconstructivist works appear to have been conceived with the aid of a computer, but were not; Zaha Hadid's sketches for instance. Frank Gehry is noted for producing many physical models as well as computer models as part of his design process. Though the computer has made the designing of complex shapes much easier, not everything that looks odd is "deconstructivist."

Deconstructivism in contemporary architecture stands in opposition to the ordered rationality of Modernism. Its relationship with Postmodernism is also decidedly contrary. Deconstructivism took a confrontational stance toward much of architecture and architectural history, wanting to disjoin and disassemble architecture. While postmodernism returned to embrace— often slyly or ironically—the historical references that modernism had shunned, deconstructivism rejects the postmodern acceptance of such references. It also rejects the idea of ornament as an after-thought or decoration. ( Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstructivism )

A Brief History

Important events in the history of the deconstructivist movement include the 1982 Parc de la Villette architectural design competition (especially the entry from Jacques Derrida and Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi's winning entry), the Museum of Modern Art's 1988 Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition in New York, organized by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley, and the 1989 opening of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, designed by Peter Eisenman. Since the exhibition, many of the architects who were associated with Deconstructivism have distanced themselves from the term. Nonetheless, the term has stuck and has now, in fact, come to embrace a general trend within contemporary architecture.

Originally, some of the architects known as Deconstructivists were influenced by the ideas of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Eisenman developed a personal relationship with Derrida, but even so his approach to architectural design was developed long before he became a Deconstructivist. For him Deconstructivism should be considered an extension of his interest in radical formalism. Some practitioners of deconstructivism were also influenced by the formal experimentation and geometric imbalances of Russian constructivism. There are additional references in deconstructivism to 20th-century movements: the modernism/ postmodernism interplay, expressionism, cubism, minimalism and contemporary art. ( Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstructivism )

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Frank Gehry

Frank Owen Gehry, CC (born Frank Owen Goldberg; February 28, 1929) is a Canadian American Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles, California. His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. His works are often cited as being among the most important works of contemporary architecture in the 2010 World Architecture Survey, which led Vanity Fair to label him as "the most important architect of our age".

Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind, (born May 12, 1946 in Łódź, Poland) is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect. Libeskind is perhaps most famous for being selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to oversee the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He titled his concept for the site Memory Foundations.

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid is an Iraqi-British architect. She is based in London, where she was educated at the Architectural Association. Teaching has always been central to Hadid’s career; she has held appointments at Harvard, Columbia, Yale and the universities of Chicago, Hamburg and Vienna. Hadid was selected as the 2004 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, the architectural equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Ms. Hadid received her award at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia on May 31, 2004. She is not only the first woman to win this coveted award, but also the youngest recipient at age 53.

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