Bernard Tschumi’s Architecture Is Not Just About Space And Form But Also The Design, Architecture and Transgression: an Interview with Bernard Tschumi. “Architecture and Transgression” is a essay by French architect and theoretician Bernard Tschumi originally published in the journal. Introduction. In the young French-Swiss architect Bernard. Tschumi published the first of his Advertisements for. Architecture in Art Forum (Fig. 1), and in.

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The essay outlines what Tschumi identifies as a fundamental paradox at the heart of architectural design: Borrowing ideas from the writings of Georges Bataille, specifically his L’Erotisme Erotism, [2] “Architecture and Transgression” attempts to posit a resolution to this paradox—or rather to claim the impossibility of its resolution as an essential characteristic of the architectural, and therefore something to be embraced.

Tschumi had already written about ‘The Architectural Paradox’ in an essay of that name in Uneasy at the notion of assigning artistic status to something as fundamentally functional as architecture, Hegel defined the ‘art’ in architecture as whatever in a building did not point to utility—a “sort of ‘artistic supplement’ added to the simple building.

Throughout the modern era in architecture, a bifurcation of form and program, with the artistic qualities of the discipline tending to be located in the former, increasingly became ingrained.

Tschumi also identifies the critical positions of Bataille or Foucault—for whom political, religious, or social meanings of architecture were foregrounded—as equally ‘supplemental’ to the domain of the daily experience of architectural space.

The ‘extraterritotiality’ of any kind of architectural representation—be that a product of the drawing board, or architectural writing and theory—exists outside the architdcture of space, sensuality, subjectivity and thus represents a kind of architectural ‘death’.

The imperative of how to “question the nature of space” in the form of concepts, theory, design, and “at the same time, make or experience a real space” [6] was a fundamental challenge facing architects.


Bernard Tschumi Architects

In L’ErotismeBataille outlined a distinction between eroticism and sensuality. Where sensuality is the pure pleasure of the senses, eroticism incorporates sensuality, but includes an additional element, an excess.

This excess is essentially conceptual, held in the mind, and relates to given historical and social meanings, limits, and taboos around sexuality. The existence of these limits, and begnard skirting or transgression are necessary for a merely sensual experience to architecfure the level of the erotic.

Tschumi maps this notion onto architecture, and the two sides of the architectural paradox—the immediate, sensual experience of space, and the conceptualism of architectural history, theory and design. Architecture, for Tschumi, is the ultimate erotic object because it is predicated on the sensual experience of space brought into contact, and sometimes conflict, with understood historical and cultural ‘rules’ of architectur discipline.

Architecture and Transgression

Architecture, by its very nature, is transgressive. Tschumi illustrates his point with reference to Andd Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in its mid s state of vandalism and disrepair.

This, he argues, was not an ‘unnatural’ state for the building to be in, but one in which it “was never more moving”. In doing so, it was allowing time, use, the elements—all of those facets of a building that architects seek to keep at bay—to assert themselves, bringing the physicality of the rotting Villa into contact with the historical and conceptual idealism of the building.

Tschumi clearly picks an extreme example to illustrate the central argument of “Architecture and Transgression”, but his point remains: Architectural ‘taboos’ are widespread for Tschumi, writing in because “most architects work from paradigms acquired through education and through subsequent exposure to architectural literature, often without knowing what characteristics have given these paradigms the status of rules [in the first instance].


Rules stay obscured, for schools of architecture never teach concepts or theories in the abstract.

Architecture and Transgression – Archiwik

While the given rules may change over the years, the mechanism for their transgression remains the same: Limits remain, for transgression does not mean the methodical destruction of any code or rule that concerns space or architecture.

On the contrary, it introduces new articulations between the inside and outside, between concept and experience. Very simply, it means overcoming unacceptable prevalences. The “Advertisements for Architecture” are a series of postcard-sized printed works produced by Tschumi that juxtapose words and images related to ideas being explored in his theoretical writings at the time.

Architecture and Transgression – An interview with Bernard Tschumi – Reading Week 28

Two of the Advertisements include Tschumi’s images of the abandoned Villa Savoye, juxtaposed with texts closely related to the “Architecture and Transgression” essay. Bernard Tschumi, “Architecture and Transgression”, in: Architecture and DisjunctionCambridge, Mass: MIT Press, Death and Sensualitytrans. Mary Dalwood San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, Tschumi, Architecture and Disjunction Tschumi discusses the relationship between form and program in terms of a reciprocal violence: This also suggests that actions qualify spaces as much as spaces qualify actions; that space and action are inseparable and that no proper interpretation of architecture, drawing, or notation can refuse to consider this fact.

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