Wexner Center
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Architect Peter Eisenman
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Location Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio   map
Date 1983 to 1989   timeline
Building Type University arts center
 Construction System steel, concrete, glass
Climate temperate
Context university campus
Style Deconstructivist Modern
Notes Purposeful collision of shifted grids. Peter Eisenman with Richard Trott et al.


Discussion Wexner Center Commentary

"The extension of the Columbus street grid generates a new pedestrian path into the campus, a ramped east-west axis. The major circulation spine of this scheme, a double passageway - an asymptote extending from the central oval of the campus - wracks out of the ground, and runs north-south. This passageway - one half glass-enclosed, the other half of which is enclosed in an open scaffolding - is perpendicular to the east-west axis. The crossing of these two 'found' axes is not simply a route but an event, literally a 'center' for the visual arts, a circulation route through which people must pass on the way to and from other activities. Thus, a major part of the project is not a building itself, but a 'non-building'. Scaffolding traditionally is the most impermanent part of a building. It is put up to build, repair or demolish buildings, but it never shelters. Thus, the primary symbolization of a visual arts center, which is traditionally that of a shelter of art, is not figured in this case. For although this building shelters, it does not symbolize that function."

— Peter Eisenman, Arie Graafland, ed., Peter Eisenman: Recent Projects, p63

The Creator's Words

"Now when I did a museum for the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, I said, 'We have to exhibit art, but do we have to exhibit art the way has been traditionally exhibited, that is, against a neutral background? Because,' I said, 'You know, art has always been critical of life, that is what gave art its potency, its poetry. And architecture should serve art, in other words, be a background for art? Absolutely not,' I said, 'Architecture should challenge art and this notion that it should be a background."

— Peter Eisenman. from Peter Noever, ed. Architecture in Transition: Between Deconstruction and New Modernism. p39.

Sources on Wexner Center

Douglas Davis. The Museum Transformed: Design and Culture in the Post-Pompidou Age. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1990. ISBN 1-55859-064-1. LC 89-18227. NA6695.D38 1990. exterior aerial photo, p205, plate 174. exterior photo of entry, p206, plate 175. — Available at Amazon.com

Peter Eisenman. "The Grid and the Grain", The Architectural Review, June 1990. Color photo of interior of arcade, f12, p85. color photo of rehabilitated armoury towers, f3, p80. color photo of exterior, f2, p80.

Peter Eisenman, Arie Graafland, ed. Peter Eisenman: Recent Projects. Amsterdam: SUN, 1989. NA737.E33P47 1989. ISBN 90-6168-316-5. p63.

Peter Noever, ed. Architecture in Transition: Between Deconstruction and New Modernism. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1991. NA682.D43A73 1991. ISBN 3-7913-1136-0. p39.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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