Deconstructivism: Translation From Philosophy to Architecture

Aida Hoteit


There has always been a significant interaction between architecture and the human sciences, such as philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Intellectual and especially philosophical currents of thought have influenced architecture at the time that it was created. This research article examines the study of the philosophical current of “deconstruction” and its relation to deconstructivist architecture. First, the research explains the basic principles of this philosophy, which began with the work of Jacques Derrida. Next, it defines the basic terms and vocabulary of this philosophy. Then, this research identifies the deconstruction concepts that were transferred to architecture and became the basis of deconstructivist architectural styles. Deconstructivist projects and buildings initially seem to be fragmented and lack any visual logic; however, they are unified under the principles and concepts of deconstruction philosophy. The “transfer” of the concepts of deconstruction to architecture was not direct and literal; some concepts were modified and renamed to suit architecture. Moreover, iconic deconstructivist architects were not committed to all concepts of this philosophy; they were known to focus on one or two concepts in deconstruction and make them fundamental principles of their personal styles in architecture. Peter Eisenman focused on the concepts of presentness and trace, Daniel Libeskind concentrated on the concept of absence, and Frank Gehry focused on binary oppositions and free play. Finally, a deconstructivist architect is not as free as a reader or a philosopher; not all that one can do or apply in language and philosophy can be done and applied in architecture.


Deconstruction; Deconstructivism; Jacques Derrida; Peter Eisenman; Presentness; Trace

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