Times of Creative Destruction : Shaping Buildings and Cities in the late C20th book cover
1st Edition

Times of Creative Destruction
Shaping Buildings and Cities in the late C20th

ISBN 9781138616646
Published June 7, 2018 by Routledge
302 Pages

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Book Description

Times of Creative Destruction is about the years that followed the end of WWII, one of the most seminal and dramatic epochs in human history, during which extraordinary star-buildings were born, cities exploded, and an unprecedented world of a ‘Third Ecology’ emerged. Never before was there such a flurry of daring mega-constructions, such daring spatial acrobatics, ‘star’ buildings by star architects attained by star developers, mega-constructions, technological feats, and flourishing spatial acrobatics. But, for all its exhilarating creativity, this was also an era of unanticipated, intractable, irreversible destruction reducing the uniqueness and diversity of cultural, social and ecological peaks and valleys of our world, to a ‘desert flatland’, environmental inequality and unhappiness.

This book critically discusses and revaluates these contradictory events, bringing together and commenting on a selection of shorter key texts by Tzonis and Lefaivre, the product of a rare research and writing partnership. The texts, published between the early 1960s and the present, are significant as documents that inform about the period. They are also important and timely because of their critical and influential role in the debates of this era, both creative and destructive.

Table of Contents


Times of Creative Destruction

1963 Search for a New Urbanity: Commentary (Alexander Tzonis)

1967 Structure and Randomness in Museum Architecture (Alexander Tzonis)

1967 Lobbies. Ambiguous Voids in the Urban Fabric. The Obsolescence of Egyptian Tomb Style at the Time of Technological Catacombs (Alexander Tzonis)

1969 Letter from Harvard (Alexander Tzonis)

1967 Ideological Architecture (Alexander Tzonis)

1969 Transformations of the Initial Structure (Alexander Tzonis)

1969 The Last Identity Crisis in Architecture (Alexander Tzonis)

1974 The Mechanical vs. Divine Body. The Rise of modern Design Theory in Europe (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1975 The Populist Movement in Architecture (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1977 Sentimental Geometry and the Therapeutic Landscape (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1978 The Narcissist Phase in Architecture (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1981 The Grid and the Pathway (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1984 The Question of Autonomy in Architecture (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1989 The Bastion as a Mentality (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1990 Huts, Ships and Bottleracks: Design by Analogy for Architects and/or Machines (Alexander Tzonis)

1990 Dirty Realism. Making the Stone Stony (Liane Lefaivre)

1990 Eros, Architecture and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Liane Lefaivre)

1991 Lewis Mumford's Regionalism (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1992 Planning and Tomatoes (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1996 Skin Rigorism Alexander (Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

1998 Beyond Monuments, Beyond Zip-a-tone. Shadrach Woods's Berlin Free University, a Humanist Architecture (Liane Lefaivre and Alexander Tzonis)

1999 Pikionis and Transvisibility (Alexander Tzonis)

2001 L'Architecture au Collège de France, L'Intelligence Spatiale (Alexander Tzonis)

2002 Community in the Mind, a Model for Personal and Collaborative Design (Alexander Tzonis)

2005 Puer Ludens (Liane Lefaivre)

2013 Region Making (Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre)

2015 Putting on a Pretty Face (Liane Lefaivre and Alexander Tzonis)


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Alexander Tzonis is professor emeritus at the University of Technology Delft. He was educated at Yale University and taught at Harvard University between 1967 and 1981, at the College de France and Tsinghua University. Among his publications, The Shape of Community (Penguin, 1972) with Serge Chermayeff, Towards a Non-oppressive Environment, (1972).

Liane Lefaivre is Professor Ordinaria (retired) at the University of Applied Art in Vienna. Among her books are Leon Battista Alberti's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (MIT Press, 1996) and The Child, the City and Power of Play (Tsinghua University, Beijing, 2010).

Among the books Lefaivre and Tzonis authored together are Classical Architecture (1986), Emergence of Modern Architecture (Routledge 2004), and Architecture of Regionalism in the Age of Globalization, Peaks and Valleys in the Flat World, (Routledge, 2011).