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The Ideas and Projects of Peter Eisenman in Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963-1988

Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963-1988.pdf

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of one of the most influential architects of our time? If so, you might want to check out Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963-1988.pdf. This is a book by Peter Eisenman, a renowned architect and theorist who has shaped the field of architecture for more than three decades. In this book, he presents nineteen of his most important essays that cover various topics and projects related to his architectural practice and theory.

Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963 1988.pdf

In this article, I will give you an overview of what you can expect to find in this book. I will also share some insights and opinions on Eisenman's ideas and works. Whether you are an architecture student, a professional architect, or just a curious reader, I hope you will find this article informative and engaging.

Theoretical Perspectives

One of the main themes that runs through Eisenman's writings is his attempt to define architecture as a discipline that is independent from other fields such as art, engineering, sociology, or history. He argues that architecture has its own logic, language, and methods that are not reducible to external factors or influences. He also challenges some of the dominant paradigms and conventions that have governed architectural practice and theory in the modern era.

Toward a Definition of Architecture

In this essay, Eisenman proposes a definition of architecture that is based on four criteria: abstraction, autonomy, internalization, and differentiation. He claims that these criteria are essential for architecture to be considered as a form of knowledge rather than a form of expression or representation. He also criticizes some of the existing definitions of architecture that rely on functionalism, historicism, or humanism.


In this essay, Eisenman critiques the functionalist approach to architecture that dominated the modern movement. He argues that functionalism is based on a false premise that there is a direct relationship between form and function. He also suggests that functionalism leads to a loss of architectural identity and meaning. He proposes a post-functionalist approach that is based on the notion of indeterminacy and ambiguity. He claims that this approach allows for more creativity and diversity in architecture.

Decomposition and the Processes of Differentiation

In this essay, Eisenman explores the concept of decomposition as a way of generating architectural form and meaning. He defines decomposition as a process of breaking down a whole into its constituent parts, and then reassembling them in new and unexpected ways. He also explains how decomposition can create differentiation, which is the ability to distinguish one thing from another. He illustrates his concept of decomposition and differentiation with examples from his own projects, such as House VI and House X.

Architecture and the Problem of the Rhetorical Figure

In this essay, Eisenman examines the role of rhetoric in architecture. He defines rhetoric as the use of language to persuade or influence an audience. He argues that architecture, like language, has its own rhetorical devices that can be used to create effects or meanings. He also discusses how rhetoric can be related to the problem of the figure, which is the representation of an object or idea in architecture. He analyzes some of the rhetorical figures that he has used in his own projects, such as analogy, metaphor, irony, and paradox.

Architectural Analyses

Another theme that emerges from Eisenman's writings is his interest in analyzing architectural works from different perspectives and methods. He applies various tools and techniques to interpret and critique architectural projects, both his own and others'. He also demonstrates how analysis can lead to new discoveries and possibilities in architecture.

House I and House II

In this essay, Eisenman presents two of his early projects, House I and House II, as examples of his experimental approach to architecture. He explains how he used a series of transformations and manipulations to generate the forms and spaces of these houses. He also discusses how he tried to challenge some of the assumptions and expectations that are associated with domestic architecture.

The Destruction of the Box I

In this essay, Eisenman analyzes one of his most famous projects, House VI, which he designed for Suzanne and Richard Frank in 1972. He describes how he used a process of destruction to create a complex and dynamic form that defies conventional notions of geometry, structure, and function. He also reflects on how House VI represents a radical departure from his previous works.

Maison Domino and the Self-Referential Sign

In this essay, Eisenman compares two iconic projects in modern architecture: Le Corbusier's Maison Domino (1914-1915) and his own House X (1975-1978). He argues that both projects are based on a self-referential sign system that is independent from any external reference or context. He also explains how both projects use a grid system to organize their forms and spaces.

The End of the Beginning, the End of the End

In this essay, Eisenman discusses one of his most ambitious projects, the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University (1983-1989). He describes how he used a process of superimposition to create a hybrid form that combines different historical and contemporary elements. He also addresses some of the criticisms and controversies that surrounded the project.

Architectural Critiques

A third theme that can be found in Eisenman's writings is his engagement with other architects and their works. He offers his opinions and evaluations on some of the prominent figures and movements in architectural history and theory. He also reveals his influences and inspirations from various sources.

On the Writings of Philip Johnson

In this essay, Eisenman reviews some of the writings by Philip Johnson, one of the most influential architects and critics in America. He praises Johnson for his ability to identify and promote new trends and talents in architecture. He also criticizes Johnson for his lack of consistency and originality in his own architectural practice.

The Graves of Modernism

In this essay, Eisenman critiques one of the leading architects of postmodernism, Michael Graves. He argues that Graves' works are based on a nostalgic and superficial appropriation of historical styles and motifs. He also suggests that Graves' works represent a regression rather than an advancement in architectural discourse.

Misreading Peter Eisenman

Architectural Texts

A fourth theme that can be detected in Eisenman's writings is his exploration of the relationship between architecture and text. He investigates how architecture can be seen as a form of text that can be read and written in different ways. He also experiments with different modes and formats of writing about architecture.

The Texts of Between

In this essay, Eisenman discusses one of his most complex and controversial projects, the Cannaregio Town Square in Venice (1978). He explains how he used a series of texts, such as maps, diagrams, drawings, and models, to create a multi-layered and non-linear design that challenges the traditional notions of urban space and history.

Blue Line Text

In this essay, Eisenman presents one of his most innovative and experimental works, the Blue Line Project in Berlin (1988). He describes how he used a blue line to mark a path across the city that connects various sites and events related to the history and culture of Berlin. He also discusses how he used different types of texts, such as photographs, narratives, poems, and quotations, to accompany and interpret the blue line.

The Legacy of Eisenman Inside Out

Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963-1988.pdf is a book that offers a comprehensive and insightful overview of Peter Eisenman's architectural practice and theory. It showcases his original and provocative ideas that have influenced and challenged the field of architecture for more than three decades. It also demonstrates his rigorous and creative methods of analysis and critique that have opened up new possibilities and perspectives in architecture.

This book is not only a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Eisenman's works and theories, but also a source of inspiration for anyone who wants to explore their own architectural vision and voice. It invites the reader to engage with Eisenman's writings in a critical and creative way, and to discover their own meanings and interpretations in architecture.

Frequently Asked Questions about Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings, 1963-1988.pdf

Here are some of the common questions that people might have about this book:


Who is Peter Eisenman?Peter Eisenman is an American architect and theorist who is known for his innovative and controversial works and writings. He is also a professor and founder of the Institute for Architecture and Urbanism.

What is the main theme of this book?The main theme of this book is Eisenman's attempt to define architecture as an autonomous discipline that has its own logic, language, and methods.

What are some of the projects that are discussed in this book?Some of the projects that are discussed in this book are House I, House II, House VI, House X, Wexner Center for the Arts, Cannaregio Town Square, and Blue Line Project.

What are some of the concepts and terms that are used in this book?Some of the concepts and terms that are used in this book are abstraction, autonomy, internalization, differentiation, decomposition, indeterminacy, ambiguity, rhetoric, figure, sign, superimposition, hybridity.

Where can I find this book?You can find this book online or in your local library or bookstore. You can also download it as a PDF file from this link:


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