Lars Lerup
Postscript by Peter Eisenman
The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1987, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
ISBN: 9780262620567

From the Publisher. In the three house projects drawn and described here, Lars Lerup makes “planned assaults” on both architectural dogma and social convention as they are represented by the single-family house, its site, and its program, real or imaginary. His subjects are a suburban house in California, a Parisian house where a visitor awaits his lover, and a country retreat in Texas for an independent woman.

Lerup makes his assault on the house as figure, as plan, and as “family narrative”—a set of conventions in which, he writes, “architecture has no place.”

For each project he establishes a balanced “tripartite figure”—a place or space for architecture flanked by two smaller structures, each a child's drawing of a house—only to disrupt and animate it through an engineered collision of house and architecture. By a series of transformations derived in part from Le Corbusier’s notion of the architectural promenade, Lerup makes, in each case, a new house: the Nofamily House, Love/House, and Texas Zero.

But if Le Corbusier's houses were conceived as machines for dwelling, Lerup's are, in Peter Eisenman’s words, “dream machines.” His devices are Dadaist traps, displacements and rotations, shifts and leans among building elements. His inspirations are not only architectural but poetic, philosophical, and psychoanalytic. His creations invite the dweller or the beholder momentarily to leave behind the patterns of everyday existence, to enter the imaginative world of architecture.

Lerup’s enchanting drawings—38 reproduced in color and 38 in black and white—constitute their own discourse. Drawing and explication are presented as a synthesis in which each forms its own “text.” Eisenman's postscript deals critically with Lerup’s work in the context of current architectural thought and practice.

Lars Lerup is an architect and a former faculty member of the Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, as well as Dean Emeritus at Rice University’s School of Architecture. His work has been widely exhibited and his drawings are included in private collections and in the collections of the CCA. Lerup's first published house project was Villa Prima Facie (1978). He is also the author of Building the Unfinished: Architecture and Human Action (1977), among other books. (Out of print)


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Kent Kleinman

Lars’s compact book is a meditation on the ultimately futile desire for architecture to escape the domestic narrative that shapes its material and formal configuration, and to frolic off in a state of degree-zero euphoria. Peter Eisenman’s afterword is revelatory—of Peter’s intellectual project as much as Lars’s.

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