Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lebbeus Woods and OuUnPo

SFMOMA is currently showing an exhibition by American architect Lebbeus Woods that connects to OuUnPo's current investigation of catastrophe and heritage. The majority of Woods's explorations deal with the design of systems in crisis: the order of the existing being confronted by the order of the new. He is  known for his proposals for San Francisco, Havana and Sarajevo. He writes:

Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no "sacred and primordial site." I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then "melt into air." I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.
Woods envisioned experimental constructs and environments, stated that the interplay of metrical systems establishing boundaries of materials and energetic forms is the foundation of a universal science whose workers include all individuals. He has stated:

My answer was that architecture, as a social and primarily constructive act, could heal the wounds, by creating entirely new types of space in the city. These would be what I had called ‘freespaces,’ spaces without predetermined programs of use, but whose strong forms demanded the invention of new programs corresponding to the new, post-war conditions

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