Fiction and Sensation: Peter Eisenman’s Artificial Excavations


ABSTRACT The poststructuralist architectural theory of the postmodern period deals with the genesis, which is the emergence of the relationships and potentials between the object and its meaning[s]. Peter Eisenman positioned himself as a structuralist until a certain period and later as a poststructuralist when he introduced the concept “artificial excavation” that implies "to consider the layers of physical and cultural archeologies". The concept is considered the main problem of this study. To develop an understanding of this design thinking method, a critical inquiry is aimed through interviews, project documents, and literature reviews. Within the broad framework of the study, the semiotics-related concepts such as text, sub-text, meaning, symbol, signifier, and signified are examined throughout Eisenman’s work. The findings suggest that Eisenman's deconstructivist approach might be covered in not two but five periods over fifty years. The breakpoints are indicated chronologically via the projects within the scope of the research, to criticize a unique way of thinking and modeling of architectural theory. On the other hand, evaluated from the morphological perspective, it is determined that artificial excavation operations that stem from the same impulse and aim, fall into two periods. In the second one, the emphasis in the diagrammatic process is placed on syntactic aspects rather than semantics.