The Caricature of Architectural Practice

Margaret Marsh, The Caricature of Architectural Practice: An Exercise in Deconstructivist Representation Through the Section Drawing

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Michael Meredith

This thesis explores the representation of the Deconstructivist Architecture show at MoMA in 1988. The show is widely considered to be contrived, disjointed and unjustified; critics attacked the collectivity of these seven architects and their work as a group. However, their projects were intriguing in the ways that they responded to Postmodernism through an amplification of Constructivist tendencies. Thus, by focusing on their representational materials we are better able to understand the motives and results of “The” Deconstructivists.

Specifically, through analyzing and diagramming the section drawings of the show, larger conclusions about their representation as a whole can be drawn. The section is inherently revealing, differentiating it within the realm of two‐dimensional representation. Thus, it serves as an appropriate lens through which to perform our active investigation and, furthermore, justifies our extrapolation.

Ultimately, their section drawings reveal various trends in representational emphases: on the physical vs. the abstract, on object vs. surface vs. line, and finally on tension with vs. obliteration of the datum. In demonstrating these emphases, their drawings autonomously outline the progression of choices and deliberations made within the architectural design process. Thus, the complexity of architecture becomes apparent. In typifying the dualities of architecture and its practice, Deconstructivist representation brings us closer to the discipline rather than creating the discontinuity and schizophrenia that is so believed.