Positive Disturbances: Urban Form Strategies in Eisenman's University Art Museum

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This paper addresses architectural composition, interrogating its capacity in open space, circulation elements and built form to make manifest diverse time and scale complexities. It does this through an analysis of Peter Eisenman’s unbuilt project for the University Art Museum, Long Beach (1986-1988). The paper is founded on two propositions. The first is that Eisenman’s project provides an alternative approach to thinking architecture’s relation to urban scale form and the city more generally, one less bound to singular types, operational requirements, and overt contextual references in favour of other factors. The second proposition is that certain form generation strategies and composition devices have more or less capacity to register multiple layers, whether they be topographic, social, programmatic, or formal. A number of interconnected themes bracket the analysis given architectural translation in the devices of scaling, registration and superposition; providing Eisenman an armature to register and control plan dispositions; as artificial ground, signalling a cut and an edge; and as marking the disappearance of a golden time in Eisenman’s relation to certain architectural-urban conditions. Unpublished materials from the Eisenman archives held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, provide primary source material for the research. The paper makes a contribution to scholarship on the work of Eisenman, adds to studies on architecture-urban composition, and addresses the major conference theme of intense asymmetric flows impacting architectural-urban form and aspects of Track 1 Diversity and Mixture with its emphasis on diverse kinds of architectural-urbanistic practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUIA 2021 RIO All the Worlds Just One World Architecture 21
Subtitle of host publication27th World Congress of the International Union of Architects / Union internationale des architectes
Place of PublicationWashington DC
PublisherAssociation of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781944214319
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021
Event27th World Congress of the International Union of Architects: All the Worlds. Just one World. Architecture 21 - Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 18 Jul 202122 Jul 2021


Conference27th World Congress of the International Union of Architects
Abbreviated titleUIA2021 RIO
CityRio de Janeiro


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