Saturday, March 22, 2003

The above image is a sketch by the architect Lebbeus Woods. Woods is notorious for his fantastic creations. Formally, one might regard him as a deconstructivist architect. He is less interested in amending current architectural programs than in re-defining the role of architecture. For him, architecture arises out of the landscape as a new organic form - it is an extension of the inhabitant and the environment.

At first, Woods' visions seem like glimpses of an alien environment - strange antennae, irregular walls and bodies and cells which seem like components of an unknown biology - or like a building in mid-construction with scaffolds and half-completed bridges. It does not look like a building that was designed for human habitation. But, that is the point. Woods sees designs as templates, as elements of an externally imposed order. Gravity is itself a constraint which must be defied (or more accurately, ignored)

He has worked with and is an admirer of Johansen. Johansen in turn is an advocate of a native, organic architecture - a nanoarchitecture which might arise as the fruits of a genetic method. Johansens latest imaginations are also an architecture of defiance, an attempt to redefine the bare notion of an enclosed space. As chaos intrudes on the constructs of a community, a new design, post-apocalyptic, emerges. This is the architecture of decay, the architecture of the imagination.

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