Abandoning the Plan

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In a little cited text from 1969, Peter Eisenman decries that the importance of the plan as conceptual device has been abandoned. In the same years, John Hejduk discerns the apparent loss of certain modernist spatial sensibilities. Which shifts did Eisenman and Hejduk sense in architecture’s trajectory? Are they right, and did knowledge swerve from the plan to reside elsewhere? In responding to these questions, this paper postulates, firstly, that certain problems characterising architectural thought are specifically rendered by the plan as concept device and locus of knowledge. The paper proposes, secondly, that different from a formative force, there is evidence at that moment not of theory in the making but of theory in deformation and dissipation. Using Hubert Damisch’s notion of theoretical object as an interpretive lens, the paper interrogates these propositions through a formal analysis of Eisenman’s House II (1969) and Hejduk’s Texas House 5 (1962). In so doing, the paper reveals a unique episode in 20th-century architectural thought and tests an analytic approach that addresses the methodological challenges confronting architects and historians in their engagement with the changing shapes of architectural discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArchitecture Thinking Across Boundaries
Subtitle of host publicationKnowledge Transfers Since the 1960s
EditorsElke Couchez, Rajesh Heynickx, Richardo Agarez
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781350153196
ISBN (Print)9781350153189
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


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