Architecture and Revolution: Contemporary Perspectives on Central and Eastern Europe

By Neil Leach | Go to book overview

12

Disjunctions

Bernard Tschumi

Following the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, and the establishment of a new society, architects should look to new forms of architecture. It is not sufficient to accept uncritically the traditions of the past. The new Europe needs a radically new architecture, an architecture of disruptions and disjunction, which reflects the fragmentation and dissociation within culture at large.


Disjunction and culture1

The paradigm of the architect passed down to us through the modern period is that of the form-giver, the creator of hierarchical and symbolic structures characterized, on the one hand, by their unity of parts and, on the other, by the transparency of form to meaning. (The modern, rather than modernist, subject of architecture is referred to here so as to indicate that this unified perspective far exceeds our recent past). A number of well-known correlatives elaborate these terms: the fusion of form and function, program and context, structure and meaning. Underlying these is a belief in the unified, centred, and self-generated subject, whose own autonomy is reflected in the formal autonomy of the work. Yet, at a certain point, this long-standing practice, which accentuates synthesis, harmony, the composition of elements and the seamless coincidence of potentially disparate parts, becomes estranged from its external culture, from temporary cultural conditions.


Dis-structuring

In its disruptions and disjunctions, its characteristic fragmentation and dissociation, today's cultural circumstances suggest the need to discard established categories of meaning and contextual historics. It might be worthwhile, therefore, to abandon any notion of a postmodern architecture in favour of a 'posthumanist' architecture, one that would stress not only the dispersion of the subject and the force of social regulation, but also the effect of such decentering on the entire notion of unified, coherent architectural form. It also seems important to think, not in terms of principles of formal composition, but rather of questioning structures; that is, the order, techniques and procedures that are entailed by any architectural work.

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