Jörg H. Gleiter
TU Berlin – Institute of Architecture
Peter Eisenman is the Icarus of post-avant-garde architecture and has numerous highly regarded, controversial built structures to his name – such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin and the Ciudad de la Cultura de Galicia in Santiago de Compostela. How to eliminate what one becomes – this is one way of summarizing one of the most decisive features of Eisenman’s architectural praxis: the disappearance of the author. Displaying his disdain for individual style in the arts, Eisenman regularly threw Michel Foucault’s question “what is an author?” into debates on architecture. However, the death of the author – “la mort de l’auteur”1 first proposed by Roland Barthes – was not an end in itself for Eisenman. For it is only the follow-up question “what is critique?“2 that illuminates the role of the elimination of the author in the negativity aesthetics of Eisenman’s architectural praxis: it is the dialectics of the critique of reason and epistemology. In that sense, Eisenman’s theory of architecture constitutes an important – if not uncontroversial – contribution to critical architectural philosophy.
Peter Eisenman, philosophy of architecture, critical theory, authorship, deconstruction, design