A Sham Delight Has No Exchange Value: Henri Lefebvre and the evolution of Bernard Tschumi's early architectural theory
Bandel Jeske, Britt Elena
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University of Washington Abstract A SHAM DELIGHT HAS NO EXCHANGE VALUE Henri Lefebvre and the evolution of Bernard Tschumi’s early architectural theory Britt Bandel Jeske Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Associate Professor and Department Chair Brian L. McLaren, Ph.D. Architecture This thesis argues that many of Tschumi’s theories were proposed in response to Lefebvre’s analysis of cities and his critique of the architecture profession. Throughout the seventies Tschumi strove to extricate Architecture from its ties to capitalism and its perceived complicity in reinforcing problematic political and social structures. The architect’s first published articles establish Lefebvre as a key influence upon his principles and ideology, and the architectural theory that followed these initial essays enters into a dialogue with Lefebvre’s critique of architects. In the ultimate testimony of Lefebvre’s influence, Tschumi directly transposes the philosopher’s ideas into his own theories on space. Several scholars have analyzed the direction Tschumi’s work takes after 1975, specifically the influence of French post-structural theorists, including Georges Bataille, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida. These textual analyses largely reduce the Lefebvrian undertones of Tschumi’s work to a historical footnote, when, as this thesis will demonstrate, Lefebvre’s influence was both formative and deeply impactful. Given that themes from Tschumi’s writings in the early seventies frequently appear in his later more widely known work, it is argued here that Lefebvre’s influence had a lasting impact over the course of Tschumi’s career. Ultimately the initially politically charged call for revolutionary action, inspired by Lefebvre, evolves, producing theories that call for an autonomous architecture distanced from capitalist modes of production.
- Architecture