Even if you’re an architectural expert or a novice fan of architecture, you’ve probably asked, “What is deconstructivist architecture?” The word “deconstructivist” is constantly underlined by Microsoft Word as if it doesn’t exist. When applied to architectural theory, the philosophical movement “deconstruction,” from which deconstructivism emerged, becomes even more difficult to comprehend because structures are literally “built” by construction professionals. In contrast, deconstruction can mean demolishing a structure.
Unlocking the Meaning of Deconstrutivistic Architecture
When we talk about deconstructivism in architecture, we mean the breaking down or demolition of a built structure, whether for structural reasons or simply as an act of protest. Because of this, many people misunderstand the Deconstructivist movement’s ideas. Most people think of deconstructivist philosophy as a new architectural style or an avant-garde trend, but it’s just another way of thinking about architecture and society. It doesn’t adhere to any “rules” or adopt any aesthetics and isn’t a protest against a social problem.
Like most postmodern movements, deconstructivist architecture is more of an architectural rule-breaking style than a singular, cohesive concept. For deconstructivists, a building doesn’t need to seem or feel uniform or arranged. Instead, they aim to design structures that can be disassembled into smaller, seemingly unrelated parts. A deconstructivist architect would depict this skyscraper in terms of the component shapes rather than attempting to fit them together into a cohesive framework. More juxtaposition and separation are preferable, wherein all the attention is focused on the individual.
History of Deconstrutivistic Architecture
Deconstruction emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Dislocated, angular forms and conflicting geometries characterize the movement. Deconstructivist architects include Coop Himmelb, Zaha Hadid, Behnisch and Partners, Bernard Tschumi, Peter Eisenman, Morphosis, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, and Frank Gehry. Although these architects continue to use a formal vocabulary, the labels once used to describe their work have disappeared. Two 1988 events started architecture’s deconstruction. “Deconstructivist Architecture” was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and “Deconstruction in Art and Architecture” was shown at the Tate Gallery in London. The organizers’ event names showed their differences. The New York show—originally named “NeoConstructivist Architecture”—highlighted avant-garde architects’ formal language, while London emphasized Derridian philosophy. Deconstruction sprang out of poststructuralism, which stressed meaning slippage and cultural fluctuation. Derrida used the term to denote an inquiry that uncovered Western metaphysics’ inconsistencies and value-laden hierarchies. Derrida says deconstruction isn’t nihilistic rather it is epistemic. Derrida described the philosopher as a “would-be architect” seeking symbolic linkages to develop an argument. Derrida’s ideas were included in Bernard Tschumi’s 1983 design for Paris’ Parc de la Villette. Tschumi proposed a nonhierarchical grid of scattered pavilions, echoing language deconstruction. Later, Derrida worked with Peter Eisenman on a component of the park’s landscaping and wrote a commentary on Tschumi’s project, perceiving the random fluctuation of shapes as a metaphor for language’s aleatory or provisional meaning. Derrida’s “architecture of architecture” Considering architecture as a social construct, what needs to be dismantled may not be architectural forms but its theoretical assumptions. Deconstructivism was a style or a philosophical and artistic shift. Bernard Tschumi says multiple builders’ perceptions of deconstruction are more varied than the concept’s multiple readings imply. Even though it included Suprematist architects like Malevich, MoMA’s show may have been called “Neo-Constructivism.” Zaha Hadid of Iraq and others at London’s Architectural Association experimented with these forms in the 1980s. Many architects saw the philosophical linkages as a secondary problem in a stylistic movement that disrupted modernist architecture’s rectilinearity derived from International Style, a trend spurred by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, earlier in the century. As such, deconstructivist architecture is a postmodernism of resistance, a rupture of the formal invention, or a moment of recovery within a cyclical, historical process that leads to ever-new modernisms. Derrida wouldn’t tell if his work was tied to that architecture. Tschumi recognized that philosophical ideas that deconstructed concepts were fantastic conceptual tools, but they “could not handle materiality, which makes architects’ work different from philosophers’.” Architectural deconstruction and deconstructivism lost favor. Their architectural language became fashionable simultaneously. This once-dare devilish style became mainstream with Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Defining Features of Deconstructivistic Theory
“Invent the impossible” was the deconstructivist motto. It defies the structural rules of classic architecture and deforms architectural principles. By using non-linear design and favoring fragmentation, deconstructivism expresses controlled chaos. The buildings are out-of-the-ordinary, catch the eye, and occasionally feel weird.
In deconstructivism, deformed shapes and structures aren’t limited to the building’s exterior. Deconstructivist designs destabilize internal features, favor minimalism, and introduce futurism. Deconstructivism is defined by fragmentation, alteration of a structure’s skin, reinterpretation of shapes and forms, and dramatic manifestation of building complexity.
It gives the image of a fragmented edifice lacking harmony, continuity, and symmetry. Its name combines Constructivism and “Deconstruction,” a semiotic analysis by Jacques Derrida. ‘Deconstructivism’s forerunners declined to be categorized as an architectural trend, but its structures share many characteristics. The introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) in contemporary architecture was crucial to deconstructivism. Three-dimensional modeling allowed the meticulous design of sophisticated and unorthodox shapes and environments. CAD supports the deconstructivism non-rectilinear approach to design that produces some of the strangest-looking, deformed, and virtually impossible-to-comprehend structures you’ve ever seen.
Famous Deconstructivistic Architecture
Deconstructivist architecture focuses more on the freedom of form than function. Its goal is to confuse visitors and make their stay in their space something to remember. In many situations, the interior is even more fascinating than the exterior. Look at some of the most impressive museum constructions in the following list.
- Bilbao’s Guggenheim. With its swirling patterns and interesting materials, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is an excellent example of deconstructivist art. Frank Gehry transformed how architects and people think about museums and accidentally improved Bilbao’s economy. This building has hosted 100 exhibitions and 10 million visitors. The fascinating design of the building inspired the city’s change, dubbed the “Bilbao Effect.” The Bilbao Guggenheim has become a municipal and world landmark.
- The Dancing House. The Dancing House, called Tanc dm in the Czech Republic, was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Miluni and Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. Dancing House’s modern design contrasts with the city’s infrastructure. The house is named Ginger & Fred as a tribute to Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair, the famed dance combination. People often compare the building’s design to a woman and man dancing, with their hands out and a skirt swaying. The glass resembles a skirt-wearing figure embracing its mate; you can almost predict the next move. Deconstructivist architecture stands out among Prague’s Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic, and Art Nouveau buildings.
- Jewish Museum by Libeskind. Daniel Libeskind built the Jewish Museum in Berlin to represent Berlin’s history, the Jewish people’s intellectual, economic, and cultural contributions, and the tragic erasing of Jewish life in Berlin. The project took the shape of an abstracted Jewish Star of David that zigzagged over the site and environment. The building’s lack of windows and material differences create a unique ambiance. The symbolic gesture was supposed to remind visitors of the Jewish experience during WWII, suggesting that even in the darkest situations, a slight trace of light can restore hope.
- Villette Park. Bernard Tschumi is one of the world’s most daring architects who pioneered deconstructivism. He emphasized the uselessness of architecture and included irrational and perverse elements in his work. His Paris project Parc de la Villette is a well-known Deconstructivist work. The park is a unique “cultural” park, not a “nature” park. It was designed to force natural and artificial together, causing constant reconfiguration and discovery. Even though it’s sometimes criticized for being too enormous and not created with human needs in mind, it offers a conceptual approach to how people feel in a larger urban setting when everything is cramped and tight and then suddenly opens out.
- Cinecenter UFA. UFA Cinema Center, designed by Coop Himmelblau, sprang from Dresden’s fire-bomb ruins. It tackles the issue of public space, which is threatened in European cities, has urban usefulness, and dismantles single-purposed structures. The design features the Cinema Block and the Crystal. The first block’s eight theatres can hold 2600 people, while the Crystal serves as a foyer and public square. Interweaving public squares, passages, and interiors energize Dresden’s new center.