Transformations, Decompositions: Critiques
Publication Date: September 2003
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Forty years in the making, Giuseppe Terragni: Transformations, Decompositions, Critiques documents and investigates two of Italian rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni's masterworks: the Casa del Fascio (1933-36) and the Casa Giuliani-Frigerio (1939-40), both in Como. This far-reaching study -- illustrated with more than five hundred original architectural diagrams and archival photographs -- employs what Eisenman calls critical and textual reading of both buildings. He attempts to broaden the definition of the formal from a narrow aesthetic and compositional view to include first the conceptual and then the textual. It is through this idea of the textual that Eisenman begins to define an idea of the critical in architecture.
Eisenman's methodology is wholly removed from traditional approaches -- social, historical, aesthetic, functional. Instead, the various articulations and openings on the facades constitute a set of marks, notations that provide the basis for his analysis. In the Casa del Fascio, for example, each of the four sequential design schemes records the previous state, encoding the process of transformation in the final building. In the Casa Giuliani-Frigerio it is instead the process of decomposition that generates the facades. Also included in the book are an essay by Terragni and a critique by Manfredo Tafuri. In the end, it is the dual protagonists -- the architect and the author -- who together establish a new theoretical and analytical framework.
Peter Eisenman is founder of both Eisenman Architects and the Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies in New York. He is the 1984 recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Michael Graves is founder of the
Michael Graves architechtural firm in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the recipient of numerous AIA National Honor awards as well as several Progressive Architecture Design awards. Charles Gwathmey is founder of Gwathmey, Siegel, and Associates, Architects in New York. His recent projects include the
design for The Science, Industry, and Business Library branch of the New York Public Library. John Hejduk is Dean at the School of Architecture at Cooper Union. BRichard Meier is founder of Richard Meier and Partners in New York.