ANTI-ARCHITECTURE AND DECONSTRUCTION

by Nikos A. Salingaros

with contributions by Christopher Alexander, James Stevens Curl, Brian Hanson, James Kalb, Michael Mehaffy, Terry Mikiten, Ray Sawhill, Hillel Schocken, and Lucien Steil

First edition 2004; 4th Edition 2014: 248 pages.

Paper book is available in: CHINESE | ENGLISH US Edition (buy on Amazon), International Edition, Older edition | FARSI | FRENCH EBook | ITALIAN | RUSSIAN | SPANISH Spanish Edition & Latin American Edition.

EBook is available in: ENGLISH from Amazon (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, UK, USA) | FRENCH from Amazon (Canada, France, Germany, Spain, USA) | SPANISH.

Free chapters below the photo:

This work carefully refutes those who misuse science to promote their own agenda and ideology. The world is currently infatuated with architectural fashion that looks flashy, but which has devastated living architecture. Critics and theorists referring to an absurd philosophical foundation do not help matters. Topics include religion, cults, and "memes" (mind viruses), Jacques Derrida, Daniel Libeskind, Bernard Tschumi, and Christopher Alexander. How could the public be indoctrinated to accept an architecture hostile to human sensibilities, and which often causes physiological and psychological distress?

There is anecdotal evidence that the hit play "The Monster Builder" drew inspiration from this book. Interview of playwright Amy Freed. Video trailer for "The Monster Builder". Review of "The Monster Builder".

 Officially exhibited at the United Nations Habitat III Conference, Quito, Ecuador, 17-20 October 2016.

ANTI-ARCHITECTURE AND DECONSTRUCTION: THE TRIUMPH OF NIHILISM

Author's Preface

Chapter Annotations by Ray Sawhill

Foreword by James Stevens Curl

Some Thoughts on Culpability, by James Kalb

Introduction by Ray Sawhill

1. The Chessboard Model of Architectural Styles | ITALIAN

2. The Danger of Deconstructivism | ITALIAN

3. Charles Jencks and the New Paradigm in Architecture | RUSSIAN | SPANISH

4. Deconstructing The Decons: The World Trade Center Project Spotlights The Empire's Newest Clothes (with Michael Mehaffy) | SPANISH

5. Death, Life, and Libeskind (with Brian Hanson) | FARSI
    Postscript I: A Fate Worse Than Death?
    Postscript II: A Letter from Hillel Schocken

6. Warped Space (review of Anthony Vidler's book)

7. Twentieth-Century Architecture as a Cult | GERMAN | HUNGARIAN | PORTUGUESE | RUSSIAN | SPANISH | SWEDISH |
    Postscript: The Authority of the Gospels

8. Aggression in Architectural Education: The 'Coup' in Viseu

9. Anti-architecture and Religion | HUNGARIAN | PORTUGUESE

10. Contemporary Church Architecture and Saint Augustine's "The City of God" | ITALIAN

11. The Derrida Virus | PORTUGUESE

12. Background Material for 'The Derrida Virus' (includes sections co-authored with Terry M. Mikiten)

13. The New Ara Pacis Museum | ITALIAN

14. The New Acropolis Museum | GREEK | HUNGARIAN | ITALIAN | SPANISH
   Postscript: Architectural Cannibalism in Athens | GREEK | HUNGARIAN

15. Architectural Theory and the Work of Bernard Tschumi

16. Christopher Alexander and the New Architecture (book review and interview with Christopher Alexander)

17. Ray Sawhill interviews Nikos Salingaros | FARSI

Endnote to the First Edition by Lucien Steil

Endnote to the Second Edition by Michael Mehaffy

Endnote to the Third Edition by James Kalb: Why do we have horrible inhuman architecture?

Endnote to the Fourth Edition

Appendix by Nikos Salingaros and James Kalb: Why contemporary architecture is against God and man

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BOOK REVIEWS

Review in SWEDISH by Inger Glimmero, 21 October 2018.

Reseña en español por Iago López, 2 de Septiembre de 2015.

Review by David Brussat, 4 September 2014.

Reseña en español por Leonardo Tamargo Niebla, 2014.

Reseña en español por Aurelio Vallespín, 2014.

Presentación de la edición española por Irene Duque, Plataforma Arquitectura, 28 de Mayo de 2014.

Review in VIETNAMESE by Nguyen Hong Ngoc, 3 March 2012.

Review by Kristian Hoff-Andersen, 25 February 2010.

Review in ITALIAN by Armando Ermini, 26 July 2008.

"In a series of learned and moving critical essays (Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction), Salingaros and various close associates argue that we understand life in architecture as the background to human community -- the preparation for our dwelling place. Salingaros associates the radical modernism of the starchitects less with egoism than with a nihilist desire to negate the togetherness of communities, and to infect our surroundings with objects that forbid us to take comfort." -- Sir Roger Scruton, "Between art & science", The New Criterion, February 2008, page 10.

"The book comes at the end of many years of studies and debates, and at the beginning of new reflections on the topic of contemporary architecture... Definitely, the true importance of this text is to remove every support that modern Architecture has ever claimed from Science." From a review in ITALIAN by Raffaele Giovanelli, Il Covile, No. 411 (October 2007).

"Nikos A. Salingaros: A new Vitruvius for 21st-Century architecture and urbanism? ... Undoubtedly, this manuscript is a voice of logic and reason against anti-architecture norms, and the destructive attitudes of their followers. I would add my voice to other reviewers of this manuscript: that it must be a mandatory reading in schools of architecture worldwide." From the extensive review by Ashraf Salama, Archnet-IJAR, Volume 1, Issue 2 (July 2007), 114-131.

"Less than twenty pages of text are enough to deprive Deconstruction of the complex scientific arguments that offer its exponents scientific authority and social approval." Extract from the review by Nikos Karydis, The Structurist, No. 45/46 (2006), 119-123.

"A brilliant, head-clearing, scrupulous, and substantial takedown not just of hideous architecture but of the lousy philosophical (and 'scientific', ha ha) thinking that justifies it. Salingaros combines a sophisticated mind with a down-to-earth respect for common pleasures. Fans of Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander have got themselves a new thinker (and battler) to root for." Reviewer on Barnes & Noble, 2006.

"Nikos Salingaros thoroughly eviscerates the nonsense that passes for deconstructionist architectural 'theory', and goes on to explain why it won't just go away and die. With considerable precision and wit he characterises the deconstructionist meme as 'the Derrida virus' and shows how it propagates within society. This results in the cult that is the contemporary architectural establishment." Sajjad Afzal-Woodward, 2005

"I have just finished reading this long-awaited book. It's worth reading, even if you do not need convincing that Decon is a fraud. The sober revelation is the depth and extent of the fraud." Andrés Duany, 2004.

"A painful dissection of the pretentious, silly ramblings of Bernard Tschumi, the latest architectural wunderkind, by the brilliant Nikos Salingaros. Leaving these poseurs in universities was fine -- indeed it was even rather fun. However, lately, these architects have been let out of the universities and been allowed to design rather dysfunctional buildings. The mind boggles ..." Bilious Young Fogey, 2004.

Paul Grenier

27 April 2006

Konrad Perlman

10 May 2005

Isaac Meir, also in HEBREW
The Architectural Review, London.
This review was briefly reprinted by Builder Online,
but was taken off the web for reasons unknown.

1 February 2005

Francis Morrone

20 December 2004

Dirk Visser

24 November 2004

 

THE ARCHITECTURE OF FRANK O. GEHRY

(extract from Chapter 11)

"An architecture that reverses structural algorithms so as to create disorder -- the same algorithms that in an infinitely more detailed application generate living form -- ceases to be architecture. Deconstructivist buildings are the most visible symbols of actual deconstruction. The randomness they embody is the antithesis of nature’s organized complexity. This is despite effusive praise in the press for "exciting" new academic buildings, such as the Peter B. Lewis Management Building at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and the Stata Center for Computer, Information, and Intelligence Sciences at MIT, all by Frank Gehry. Housing a scientific department at a university inside the symbol of its nemesis must be the ultimate irony.

An example of this vanguard deconstructivist architectural style is Frank Gehry's celebrated New Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which represents an unnatural imposition of free-flowing ribbon forms sheathed in a continuous, shiny metal skin. Besides the deliberate disorientation, which it produces visually through absence of a vertical, Gehry has eliminated or randomized components that would otherwise contribute to coherence.

Gehry's Bilbao Museum dispenses with components altogether. There is no translational or rotational symmetry. Similar is the case with an office building in Prague also designed by Gehry, where the windows are carefully misaligned in both vertical and horizontal directions, as well as in their depth and attachment to the façade (which itself is strangely distorted for no apparent reason), and their internal structure made inconsistent so as to avoid coherence. (This is known as the "Ginger & Fred" building). Gehry explains: "I worked very hard trying to devise a window that looked like it was attacking the form ... I thought of it like a swarm of bees coming at a wall." Gehry also reversed the natural progression of small to large as elements approach the ground, so that the windows actually get larger as they get higher.

The sense of incoherence is reinforced by the lack of substructure at decreasing scales. Gehry avoids any scaling similarity by using smooth metallic skin. In his Prague office building, each window could be roughly similar to the entire façade when scaled up by a factor of 10, but this is far too large a factor for the two scales to connect visually and thus generate a certain coherence, so the two scales remain visually disconnected."

 

Wikipedia entry: Nikos Salingaros

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