The legacy of deconstructivism “makes me want to retreat to the back of the room” says Bernard Tschumi
Tom Ravenscroft | Dezeen, 23 May 2022
Deconstructivism was built on intellectual rigour and a desire for exploration that contemporary architects do not share, says French-Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi in this exclusive interview as part of our series on the style.
According to Tschumi, who was one of the seven architects featured in the seminal Deconstructivist Architecture show at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), deconstructivism had a serious intellectual ideology that was developed by young architects reinvestigating avant-garde architecture from the 1920s.
To simplify these were neo modernism versus postmodernism. And both were fairly excessive. You may remember names of course, like [Robert] Venturi and [Aldo] Rossi and a few others on one side, and people who believed in the roots of all the modern movements.
The younger generation, very much based around the AA in London, were not interested in either neo-modernism or postmodernism – because they felt it was a tired discourse.
We explored things in an intuitive and spontaneous manner. We had something in common, an interest in early 20th-century avant-garde. Not the official modernism, but surrealism, futurism, constructivism and expressionism in cinema. We felt that there was still something that had not been fully explored.
There were at least a couple of people who read a little more than the others. People who were more interested in the history of ideas. Eisenman and myself had come across the concept of deconstruction – not only Jacques Derrida, but a lot of French philosophers – [Michel] Foucault and [Roland] Barthes.