Contemporary Architecture

Peter Eisenamn – Wexner Center for the Arts

Wexner Center for the Arts:

  • Location : Ohio State University,Ohio
  • Building Type : University arts center.
  • Construction System : steel, concrete, glass.
  • Included in the Wexner Center space are a film and video theater, a performance space, a film and video post production studio, a bookstore, café, and 12,000 square feet (1,100 m²) of galleries.

About the building:

  • The design includes a large, white metal grid meant to suggest scaffolding, to give the building a sense of incompleteness.
  • The extension of the Columbus street grid generates a new pedestrian path into the campus, a ramped east-west axis.
  • A major part of the project is not a building itself, but a ‘non-building’.

About Peter Eisenman:

  • Peter Eisenman was born in Newark, New Jersey.
  • He studied at Cornell and Columbia Universities .
  • Eisenman first rose to prominence as a member of the New York Five.
  • In 2001, Eisenman won the National Design Award for Architecture from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
  • Scaffolding traditionally is the most impermanent part of a building.
  • Thus, the primary symbolization of a visual arts center, which is traditionally that of a shelter of art, is not figured in this case.
  • For although this building shelters, it does not symbolize that function.


  • Eisenman has always sought somewhat obscure parallels between his architectural works and philosophical or literary theory.
  • His earlier houses were “generated” from a transformation of forms related to the tenuous relationship of language to an underlying structure.
  • Eisenman’s latter works show a sympathy with the ideas of deconstructionism.
  • He tries to do is to ‘unlink’ the function that architecture may represent from the appearance – form – of that same architectural object.
  • Artificial excavation
  • Tracing
  • Layering
  • Deformation

Artificial excavation

  • Find traces of history.
  • Interpret form and meaning.
  • Derive new forms and meaning by layering and deforming.

Techniques :

  • Shear: Skew objects
  • Interference: Study interactions
  • Intersection: Emergent shapes
  • Distortion: Transform shapes
  • Scaling: Rotation


  • Historical reading of the site: Superposition
  • Deformation strategy: Diagrammatic image
  • Elaboration: Design

Diagrammatic image

  • Additional elements
  • Outside architecture
  • Related to project
  • Informing and deforming
  • Add to superposition
  • Deform composition


  • Diagrammatic model
  • Physical scale model
  • Computer model


  • Characterized by ideas of fragmentation.
  • Characterized by a stimulating unpredictability and a controlled chaos.


  • House VI(Frank residence), Cornwall, Connecticut.Design: 1972.
  • Wexner Centre for the Arts, Ohio State University,Ohio, 1989
  • Nunotani Building, Edogawa Tokyo Japan, 1991
  • Greater Columbus Convention Centre, Ohio,1993
  • Aronoff Centre for Design and Art, University for Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1996
  • City of Culture of Galcia, Santiago de Compostela, Galcia, Spain, 1999
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin, 2005
  • University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale , Arizona, 2006

The architecture of Eisenman had many different angles and difficulties when analyzing it and trying to describe it in general terms.

“forms are no longer a ‘means toward an end,’  but an end in themselves”

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