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Violence of Architecture by Bernard Tschumi

EVDA 621: Introduction to Design Theories

Theme Illustration by Sumer Matharu (10047835), 18 Oct 2016

The main theme in which this reading, Violence of Architecture by Bernard Tschumi, is
placed is Communication in Architecture. This reading specifically refers to the authors
perspective on the intensities of interactions between humans, program, spaces and the
symmetrical or asymmetrical relationships therein [pg.44].
Violence or the intensity of a relationship between individuals and their surrounding
spaces [pg.44] can either be a preconceived notion or something that results as an after
effect. Whether we like it or not, violence, in this context, is bound to happen with varying
levels of degree. In Tschumis words, It is not a question of knowing which comes first,
movement or space, which molds the other, for ultimately a deep bond is involved. After
all, they are caught in the same set of relationships; only the arrow of power changes
direction [pg.46]. The importance of this passage lies in the expertise of optimizing these
relationships that lies at the core of the ambition of Architecture itself. In this way, spaces
and programs are deemed to be their own individual entities, however, still mutually
informing one another in harmony.
In one way or another, this violence is always present even on a latent, built and
uninhabited level of the Architecture. For example, Tschumi writes, Each door implies
the movement of someone crossing its frame. Each corridor implies the progression of
movement that blocks it. Each architectural space implies (and desires) the intruding
presence that will inhabit it [pg.44]. This statement goes on to provide evidence that there
is a subconscious injection of violence while anticipating the human bodies that will be
violating the space [pg.44]. From another perspective it can be noted that a certain level
of violence is predicted and forms an essential part of Architectural design, whether it be
created or balanced by the Architect, or informed by human interaction with the space
thereby resulting in programmatic implications. In conclusion, violence in Architecture can
be isolated as a coefficient in the parametric equations between space, program and
human interaction.

Bernard Tschumi, Violence of Architecture, in Art Forum, Vol XX (1), 1981, pp. 44-47.
ISSN: 0004-3532