Eisenman’s deconstructionist approach to architecture sharply contrasts with the humanism of Krier. While Krier tries to create environments most conducive to human happiness, Eisenman maintains that ideas of security, comfort and shelter have no place in architecture.
From the late 1960s to 1980, Eisenman designed 10 houses to try to distill pure architectural form from the one structure that is the most closely associated with security, comfort and shelter. Eisenman numbered the houses in chronological order to emphasize that they were more intellectual exercises than proposals for dwellings. This exhibition is devoted to House IV, a project that Eisenman completed between September 1970 and May 1971. The work is considered to express most clearly the theories he had formulated in writing.
Before he describes his differences with Krier, Eisenman talks about what they have in common. “We both believe in architecture,” he says. “We both believe architecture has redemptive value in society.” He contrasts this shared belief to the “cynicism” of some of their colleagues.
Krier, Eisenman asserts, has a fixed idea of the city as an ideal place for people who never change. Eisenman says he doesn’t believe that there is one human nature that exists for all times and in all places.
“People thought that the earth was flat; they believed in an ‘anthrocentric’ world,” Eisenman says. As people’s knowledge increases, he argues, they evolve and their needs evolve — one idea of the city does not fit all. “There have always been various strategies and structures for organizing people,” he says, and these reflect changes in ways of thinking.
Eisenman credits Freud especially for having changed the way humans think about themselves. “Our buildings must be modified” to manifest our increased understanding of the unconscious, he says. The abstract theorist also acknowledges his intellectual debt to Paul de Man, a major proponent of Deconstructionism.