Reading 17 – Eisenman

Eisenman’s reflections on fiction in architecture brings about interesting considerations on the historical a priori, and what actions have impacted our current understanding of truth in the built environment. Eisenman proclaims that “fiction becomes simulation when it does not recognize its condition as fiction, when it tries to simulate a condition of reality, truth or non-fiction.” The simulations of meaning, truth and timelessness are explained in Eisenman’s essay as an episteme, a concurrent accumulation of knowledge and thought that continues through the modern period. Eisenman’s arguments are apt and precise; he says that the “simulation of meaning” can be exemplified by functionalism, a pervading theme throughout modernism, a “stylistic conclusion, this one based on a scientific and technical positivism, a simulation of efficiency.” Truth is not safe from simulation either. Eisenman writes, “Questioning its own status and mode of knowing, reason exposed itself to be a fiction. The processes for knowing – measurement, logical proof, causality – turned out to be a network of value-laden arguments, no more than effective modes of persuasion.” All of these claims of fiction lead to Eisenman’s hypothesis that “if architecture is inevitably about the invention of fictions, it should also be possible to propose an architecture that embodies an other fiction,” which is thought provoking as an architectural typology. If we can qualify reason as a fiction, we can inevitably question the truth of our human ecology and how we manifest our architecture within it. Architectural fiction may generate effects outside of the current physical realm for the sole purpose of creating new problems and simulations. As Eisenman puts it, this is the recognition of the end of the end, ultimately allowing for something new to begin.


About jasonsedar

My final year of architecture school at the University of Calgary!
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