Kien HoangPostmodernism writing assignment #1 1. Venturi discusses his preferences for an architecture of “complexity and contradiction,” a description that the Wexner Center seems to embrace. Discuss the design of the building in Venturian language, including ideas such as contextualism, inflection of parts, and the development of a “difficult whole” that includes a diversity of directions (for example, which is the front door?). Looking at the Wexner Center, in what ways do you see Venturi’s essay being activated here?In Robert Venturi’s article, “complexity” and “contradiction” are qualities intrinsic to the phenomena of visual and spatial perception. The writing has paved the way for a language based on the evocative symbolism of forms and constructive details. It pays attention to the historical past, the contrasts and contradictions typical of the current urban aggregates. Peter Eisenman’s Wexner Center exemplifies these qualities and establishes a sort of harmony between the criticism of the foundations of architecture and the architectural subject. The project is by no means an unambiguous statements. Eisenman designed it so that controversial and divergent opinions had a platform to emerge from. The building encourages a thought process with every visitor. The project plays the role of a modernized central device, opposing the traditional image of centrality and symmetry. The major elements of the design play several roles in the narrative structure of the project. The visitor is confronted with several simultaneous interpretations because these elements are both symbolic and structural. The Wexner Center is not exclusively a symbolization referring to a historical reference, even if it incorporates historical characteristics, nor exclusively an architectural decomposition, even if it presents dysfunctional and incomplete aspects. I start from the hypothesis that the architect begins with a deconstructive and decompositional process, but that he completes it by re-injecting into the project the criteria of a traditional architecture. This is the decomposition that seems to be unfinished because the architect has explicitly taken into account some foundations of architecture, such as functionality in fulfilling its role as a historical site. All this is even more important considering that one of the most urgent commitments for the architectural culture will be that of the intervention on the pre-existing spaces, facing both conservation and re-development. Therefore it is difficult to think of a design intervention not based on an awareness of current urban fabrics and the capability to identify both the values ??to be conserved and those to be transformed. The Wexner Center thus suggests that urban reflections are gradually moving towards a new challenge: that of understanding and therefore taking into account the complexity, impurity, and multiplicity of the contemporary city.The Wexner Center is one of Eisenman’s playgrounds of forms and structures. For him, there is no uniform, predetermined form. If the architectural envelope of modernism favors strongly towards the material, Eisenman’s deconstructivism, on the contrary, aims to dissolve it. Eisenman realizes his Wexner Center project between two pre-existing structures using a hybridization/densification operation. The operation consists of a metal trellis/grid, an element that creates a certain sense of incomprehension in the eye of the observer, in fact, even though the structure is there, the area emphasizes an empty space; it represents an ambiguity typical of the space in-between. The towers attached to the corners of the center are divided in the middle. They do not fulfill the formalistic functions of the actual component as a stronghold. The grid and suspended pillars are clear examples of Eisenman’s approach, that is to empty every object of its meaning as we know it; the pillar, being suspended, cannot sustain anything, thus refers less to its function. All these examples of architectural dissolution seem to remind us that architecture is no longer seen today as a fixed place in space and time but as a means of circulation and connection. Rather than imposing itself as a definite and circumscribed entity, this new space takes on the appearance of an infinite network in which we no longer move but where we seem to float. Today, we no longer circulate from one space to another, we now navigate in different spaces simultaneously. 2. In the preface to Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Venturi describes his method for analyzing architecture, which “includes the breaking up of architecture into elements… However paradoxical it appears, such disintegration is a process present in all creation, and it is essential to understanding.” Venturi’s writing seems to pre-envision the critical practice of deconstruction, in which the parts are questioned to examine the stability of the whole. Enumerate some of the elements of the Wexner Center that lend themselves to an analysis of “disintegration.”In order to disintegrate this complex structure, I will investigate the design and functionality of two major elements of the Wexner Center. From the outside, the two major elements are the metal grid and the entrance towers. From an overall viewing, they represent two different perspectives from an aesthetic point of view, however, from a conceptual and historical outlook, the point of converging emerges.The metal grid, which runs the length of the entire complex, evokes the image of a scaffold. Parts of this grid are incomplete, stretching out and hovering above the ground. This observation results in a feeling of destabilization. It gives the building an unfinished appearance that suggests a kind of deprivation. In other words, this grid represents a plastic deformation that is hidden in the form of a structure, a metal rod that attaches pieces of a broken leg. The steel construction has no function at all, it does not protect the building against rain, snow or sun, nor does it have any static ground to hold the building together. The sense of a function is missing. However, here I note the importance of the 12.25-degree angle. Eisenman emphasizes the instability of the urban fabric by breaking the old orthogonal plan of the site with the grid. This deviation of the central frame suggests that the architect questions centrality. By superimposing, tilting and off-centering the grid, Eisenman creates spaces those are no longer rectangular. In fact, all the structures of the complex are non-rectangular, including the walls, the ceiling panels and the floors, which constantly destabilizes the visitor. The grid thus gives rise to a troubled space, an ambiguous space that places us constantly between two places, outside of history and time. The grid acts as the heart of the project and all the buildings that surround it. This diagonal link assembles a series of buildings. The grid unites the buildings around it, preserves their masses and volumes but modifies their previous relationships.The other important element of this project is certainly the reconstruction of the towers of the old barrack. These towers, as well as the elements of the entrance supposed to represent the walls, are incomplete, fragmented and sketch a rough and caricatural representation of the building that existed before on the site. The question arises as to why Eisenman reconstructs a historical element, and why in this way. I start from the assumption that it is a constraint of the design competition, which demanded a better relationship between the campus and the city, that led Eisenman towards this choice. In other words, the construction of the towers would be part of a logic determined by the relationship between the projected architecture and the need for an urban reconstruction of a dislocated fabric of the city. This symbolic gesture supports its legitimacy with the fact that the old barrack was part of the city, not the campus. In designing the towers, Eisenman asserts a position that is simultaneously stylistic, symbolic and even theoretical, because it manifests the choices of a destructive construction that do not conclude the work but leaves rooms for expansions. It succeeds at implementing a form of compatibility between a maintained theoretical radicalism and the requirements of architecture.