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Looney Tune Architecture

Peter Eisenman discusses the misguided urge of many architects -– himself included -– to create works more for the front page of newspapers than for the people who will live with them.
November 17, 2003, 1pm PST | David Gest
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In a lecture in San Francisco, Peter Eisenman changed his traditionally provocative tune somewhat, criticizing the recent sensationalist trend in architecture. "We're into Looney Tunes," he said. "Ultimately, architecture is not about putting images in the New York Times, but about creating places for people to be." Focusing on the impact of architecture on the lives of everyday people, Eisenman "began by critiquing a world where spectacle is in style -- and his criticism cuts with sharp, swift strokes. 'Architecture has gotten more and more frenetic. It has spun out of control...The New York Times demands these [unconventional] images because dumb, straightforward images don't sell papers.' " The events of September 11, which Eisenman witnessed, made him think harder about the impact of the built environment on peoples' lives. "I used to say that what finally got built didn't matter -- what counted was the design as I saw it in my head," he said. "I can't believe I ever thought that."

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Thursday, November 13, 2003 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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