Bernard Tschumi: Concept and notation

Bernard Tschumi’s Current Work lecture details his design for the 2014 retrospective of his practice at the Centre Pompidou.

March 2, 2015

Recorded on November 24, 2014.

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

Bernard Tschumi founded his practice in Paris in 1983, after winning the competition for Parc de La Villette, and followed with a New York City office in 1988.

Tschumi’s lecture follows his design for the 2014 retrospective of his work at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition provides visitors with a visual, documentary, and experiential survey of his international practice that reflects his approach to architecture as “the art of inventing concepts in space through materials.” It is organized through a series of enclosures, each representing one of five themes: Space & Event; Program & Juxtaposition; Vectors & Envelopes; Context, Concept, Content; and Concept-Form.

This strategy of the control of space through objects expresses his design philosophy, and a range of media (including models, sketches, film, renderings, books, and more) translate concept into materiality in a manner similar to Tschumi’s buildings.

Tschumi’s extensive theoretical writings—“I don’t believe architecture can exist without words,” he explained—serve as both a launching point for the exhibition as well as objects on display alongside his built works. Through this discourse, Tschumi presents a selection of projects spanning more than four decades, including the Acropolis Museum, the Limoges Concert Hall, the Le Fresnoy Art Center, and the Paris Zoo. Together, these illustrate Tschumi’s effort to “take architecture where it matters the most… in between a concept and a material.”