BOOK: BERNARD TSCHUMI’S ‘ARCHITECTURE AND DISJUNCTION’

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Bernard Tschumi’s Architecture and Disjunction is a classic, definitive collection of the French architect and theorist’s essays and lectures. Best known for his design for the Parc de la Villette in Paris, with its colorful, deconstructivist folies (the result of a collaboration with postmodernist architect Peter Eisenmann), Tschumi has been theorizing about the definition and expansiveness of the architectural field for decades.

In an informative essay titled “Architecture and Happiness”, Tschumi eloquently elaborates the theory that space directly affects the human psyche, and its design can help engineer our happiness or our sense of profound alienation. The latter effect is detailed in his title essay, “Architecture and Disjunction”, in which disjunction is not simply a spatial configuration that induces alienation, but a critical reimagining of architectural space that critically reflects on existing power structures and systems of capital.

Tschumi also poses several dozen captivating questions about the nature of architectural space in a single list. A few are reproduced below:

Architecturally, if space is the medium for the materialization of theory, is a space the materialization of the architectural concept?

Does the experience of space determine the space of experience?

Do all spaces in society taken together constitute a language?

Is space the product of historical time?

If space is an in-between, is it a political instrument in the hands of the state, a mould as well as a reflection of society?

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