Lectures 2006
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"CONSTRUCT – DE construct" Vgontza Foteini, Papapavlou Kate

During the 9th semester we started to study specific works of contemporary architects, such as Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelb(l)au and Daniel Libeskind, for the preparation of the course that concerned the analysis and presentation of a specific topic. The works of these architects had stimulated our interest and had as common points of reference the concept of fission, the non-linear course of design, as well as non-Euclidean geometry. While reading the texts which describe and analyze the structure of buildings by these architects, we often encountered the term deconstruction.


The term deconstruction defies any attempt at definition. It was introduced by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the mid-20th century and concerns different “approaches” and “readings” of a text. Deconstruction focuses primarily on the ambiguity and contradiction in meaning and aspires to reveal the multiple levels of meaning in language.


Mark Wigley sets out to translate the theory of deconstruction with reference to architecture in his book “The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt”. In this book the author argues that deconstruction is related to architecture. Deconstruction seemingly does not need either explanation or translation. On the contrary, it is an application in the theory of architecture. One could then claim that architecture is the re-determination of deconstruction, that it is the materialistic side of an abstract notion.


Deconstruction in architecture constitutes only one domain of research in the unbounded field of architecture. The interest of deconstruction in architecture lies precisely on the need for change, the need for new theories and new currents. However, the architecture of deconstruction does not form any new movement. The new forms that we find in contemporary buildings are mostly the result of the further development of Russian constructivism rather than a new platform presented by deconstruction. The transfer of deconstruction from the field of philosophy to the field of architecture called all conventional and neutral architecture into question.


The exhibition entitled “Deconstructivist Architecture” that was held in New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1988 presented works in which this controversy is depicted, such as “The Peak” by Zaha Hadid and the rooftop modelling in Vienna by Coop Himmelb(l)au. Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind and Frank Gehry also work in the same way, while Bernard Tschumi and Peter Eisenman work with Jacques Derrida and receive the influence of deconstruction in their works.