Releationship of Deconstructivism with Modernism and Post Modernism

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CONCLUSION page 11-12

REFERENCES page 13-14


No city without a park, no park without a city. Parc de la Villette, a place created influencing in an and innovative way, not only architecture, but the way of living of the people of Paris.

Parc de la Villette is a place formed as a small community, a cultural and educational site, where no matter your age or inclination, you can go and discover something new within your interests. It was the very first piece of deconstructive architecture, a creation that marked a new era for architecture, and has set the baseline for a new way of thinking. Of course architecture is about the design process, the concept, the theories and principles behind it, but at the end of the day it is about finding the right balance between all these qualities and the creation of a beautiful piece of work, that serves in the best way possible the people that visit and move within it. Architecture doesn’t always need to have a function, sometimes the people that interact with it, discover a new purpose that it could serve for them. The ability to create such a space is what makes it unique and so beautiful.

“Functionalist dogmas and puritan attitudes of the modern movement have often come under at­tack .Yet the ancient idea of pleasure still seems sacrilegious to contemporary architectural theory .For many generations any architect who aimed or attempted to experience pleasure in architecture was considered decadent .Politically the socially conscious have been suspicious of the slightest trace of hedonism architectural endeavours and rejected it s a reactionary concern .And in the same way , architectural conservatives have relegated to the left everything remotely intellectual or political , including the discourse of pleasure .On both sides the idea that architecture can exist without either moral or functional justification , or even responsibility , has been considered distasteful .”



Modernist architecture emphasizes function. It attempts to provide specific needs rather than imi­tate nature , it’s a rebellious movement as it escaped in every meaning the language of classical ar­chitecture. There is emphasis on rectangular forms and horizontal and vertical lines as the building forms and shapes are based on cubed-boxes or even linked cubes-boxes . Materials are often used in well-defined planes and vertical forms contrasting with the horizontal elements of the space for a more dramatic effect. Also there is use of low, horizontal massing, flat roofs, emphasising on horizontal planes and broad roof overhangs. There’s a strong relationship between interior spaces and framed panoramic vistas. In effect, the building is at one with the landscape, taking advantage of dramatical views and the natural landscaping .A Generous use of glazing redefines the line between exterior and interior, the building and the landscape. Windows are no longer portholes to the outside, large ex­panses of floor to ceiling glass providing the right human comfort conditions.

Postmodern architecture was created as an answer the modernist movement, as it contradicts many of its basic ideas and philosophy. Combining new ideas with traditional forms, postmodernist buildings may amaze, surprise, and even amuse. Similar shapes and forms are used although it’s characterized by unexpected elements in the details. Postmodernity in architecture is said to be foreshadowed by the return of “wit, ornament and reference” to architecture created as a reaction to the more formal style that the International Style of modernism had at the time. Many felt the buildings failed to meet the human need for comfort both for body and for the eye, in contrast with modernism where the need for ornamental beauty was apparent as it wasn’t needed .

Robert Ventruri one of the pioneers of the postmodernist movement said “less is a bore” contradicting to”less is more “ by Mies Van de Rohe . Those two quotes represent exactly the difference between postmodernism and modernism approach to architecture and the interaction amongst them.


Deconstruction, is an approach that attempts to fragment architecture. The basic elements of architecture are pulled apart. Deconstructivist buildings may seem to have no visual logic. They may appear to be made up of unrelated, disharmonious abstract forms. One of the basic decon­structivist elements is its apparent instability. Although the buildings are structurally efficient , the projects seem to be in states of explosion or collapse Deconstructivist architecture. On the contrary, it gains all of its force by challenging the very values of harmony, unity, and stabil­ity, proposing instead that flaws are intrinsic to the struc­ture. Tschumi believed that Deconstructivism was simply a move against the architectural attitude of Postmodernism .The buildings which are produced and based on the de­constructive movement and philosophy could be said that are characterized by well ordered chaos and refreshing unpredictability .Deconstructivism developed after post­modernism in the late 1980s. Bernard Tschumi stated that calling the work of the architects who exhibited in 1988 and competed for the Parc de la Villette a “movement” or a new “style” was out of context and showed a lack of under­standing of their ideas. Deconstructivism took a challeng­ing stance toward much of architecture and architectural history, wanting to disjoin and disassemble architecture. While postmodernism returned to embrace, often slyly or ironically, the historical references that modernism had shunned, deconstructivism rejects the postmodern acceptance of such references. It also rejects the idea of ornament as an after-thought or decoration , which can be seen clearly in the parc de la villete as all the follies are simple ,functional structures and the language of strong geometry and cubism are evident .

After the creation of modernism , postmodernism came as an answer questioning ideas and prin­ciples of it , but still maintaining some of its elements .Deconstructivism then arose as a reaction to postmodernism and as a more insubordinate movement , but still preserving a part of the early mod­ernisms philosophy .


The Parc de la Villette is one of the biggest parks in Paris, located at the north-eastern edge of the 19th arrondissement. The park houses one of the largest concentrations of cultural venues in Paris, includ­ing the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry), Europe’s largest science muse­um, three major concert venues and the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris.

Parc de la Villette is served by Paris Métro stations Corentin Cariou on Line 7 and Porte de Pantin on Line 5.




The president of the time was François Mitterrand a very visionary man who created an architectural program to provide modern monu­ments in Paris .He served from 1982 to 1995 , during the time Louvre Pyramid, Musee d’Orsay, Arab World Institute, Opéra Bastille, Grande Arche de La Défense, Ministry of Finance ,the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the parc de vilette were constructed giving Paris a whole new fresh and contemporary feel to the city .At the time the pres­ident Mitterand was able to secure 300 million dollars for the construc­tion of the park de la vilette .



In 1982 to 1983 the international competition of designing and redeveloping a piece of land into a park took place in the centre of Paris ,France with over 470 entries including Zaha Hadid OMA/Rem Koolhaas and Jean Nouvel .This was Tschumis first competition , up to that point he was teaching architectural theory in the Architectural Association in London in 1970 where he met a big number of young architects that influenced him into creating his own architectural perception and theories . In 1982 he intended to put these theories into practice and test them out in the real world to establish how the public would interact to these. .It took him 10 years to put his ideas on paper and create the actual plans he submitted for parc de vilette .The competition was won by Bernard Tschumi and unlike other entries of the competition Tschumi did not design the park in a outdated mind-set where land­scape and nature are the major forces behind the design , instead he envisioned the park to be a place of constant reconfiguration and discovery , a place where people could feel that nature and man-made creations are forced together to create a healthy and calm environment for people to interact .

BERNARD TSCHUMI During a 1997 interview Bernard Tschumi point out, “Architects will begin to do a lot of work in terms of building technology. This is something I refer to as glue and microchips. Of course, I’m referring to two technologies here: building technology and computer technology. These two things together will have far more impact than anything about form. I think that it is here that a fascination exists, and I think we are in a very exciting period. I think that in these ways architecture is still a young discipline, with a long way to go.”


The parc de la vilette is situated on the former Paris slaughterhouses .The follies house gallery spaces , restaurants , workshops and even music pavilions and the rest of the landscape is over 70.000 sqft and form the gardens and the children’s playgrounds .

Tschumi designed the site using three principles of organisation which are the points, the lines and the surfaces. The 35 red metal structures of the park are classified by Tschumi as follies and are used as the points of reference. Each one of the follies has a very unique and distinctive form which allows the visitors to realise where they are in the park creating a sense of place. As lines Tschumi used the path­ways that run through the park .The pathways don’t really serve a function in contrast with the follies they lead to various spaces in the park as well as the surrounding area. The surfaces are all the green spaces, which form tha biggest footprint in the park . Those open spaces give a chance to people to play, relax and escape the busy and stressful routine of the big city of Paris , a calm place that feeds adults and children’s needs to escape the harsh reality of city life .

Each one of the deconstructivist follies has its own personality and identity .In the early years of the park each one them were a centre for informal programs , places of ac­tivity and education . Through the years the follies have been turned into cafes ,restaurants and even shops .


In French la vilette means little city , with Tschumis ground-breaking design of the park he was able to fit it in perfectly with the modern city of Paris and offer people a communal space within the big city that feeds people needs for open space. Tschumi was able to anticipate the future of Paris in his gift to the city ,the Parc de le Villette.



When people interact with the park and the follies everyone has a different understanding of them .Bernard Tschumi stated that he would be very disappointed if the majority of the visitors would have the same interpretation for it .His aim for La Vilette was to create a denial of a coherent meaning , but without making it have no meaning at all , that is which offers the visitors such a unique experience .This element of incoherence is said to be the one which makes the park deconstructive . Tschumis ap­proach to the creation of spaces and structures is considered to be undermining towards the previews movements of the 20th century such as modernism and postmodernism.

“the game of architecture is neither function (questions of use), nor form (questions of style), nor even the synthesis of function and form, but rather the bringing together of possible combinations and permutations between different categories of analysis - space, movement , event , technique, symbol, etc’ ‘I am not interested in form I aim for the idea of structure and syntax, but no meaning. “



Tschumis creation is said to be the very first deconstructive piece of work , with dis-structured struc­tures .He achieved this by overlaying , without synthesis the three principles of organisation that he created the points , the lines and the surfaces He gave a lot of emphasis on the placement and the lack of resolution between the three systems, the way they collide and interact. According to Tschu­mi there is ‘no rhythm, no synthesis, no order’, but the visual effect is not disturbing, on the contrast he stated that it seems parallel to the way different rhythms are set against each other in minimalist music.


Both of the parks are situated in Paris are together a part of president François Mitterrand and his vision of offering Paris a fresh and new series of modern monuments .

Both of the parks where pieces of wasteland before their construction as parc de la vilette stood as abandoned slaughterhouses and the parc Andre Citroen was an wasteland of pollution as it was one of the biggest French industrial monuments , where the citroen car company had one of its factories .Both parks where purchased by the government and they decided they would turn them into public parks . The experience of Parc Andre Citroen is meant to be involving, encompassing all of the visitor’s senses: sight, smell, sound, and touch. This garden is meant to evoke the color after which it is named. It is filled with plants that have dark foliage and flowers. In park de la vilette the experience is slightly different as you come across the red deconstructive follies that don’t really serve a function , as they work as a place where people can explore and interact ,although there are really large green spaces that re used from children to play and adults to relax and enjoy the landscape .


PHOTO FROM:é-Citroën.jpg

The idea that at times “architecture flows through nature and nature through architecture” is very evident here. The park achieves a nice balance in this area between the natural and the built environ­ments. The lawn is surrounded with man-made structures, greenhouses and retaining walls but it is still a very natural place. The grass plain is expansive and there are trees and hedges encircling the area. The parc Andre Citroen fits in with the surrounding context in contrast with the parc de la vilette .Perhaps this is why you get the feeling of not being in the large city of Paris when you are within the parks grounds , you suddenly get a strong feel of an open space and you could even feel like you are in the countryside .When parc de la Villette meets the surrounding site its like two different worlds colliding .

There is also no clear path by which to transverse this garden. Visitors are left to make their own way as best they see fit. The Movement Garden signals the end of the park’s themed progression from artifice and architecture to nature and movement . In parc de la vilette the circulation of the park can or can be not be chosen by the visitors . There are specific pathways that lead you in specific buildings but you can also choose without restrictions tha route you want within the green spaces of the park , in some parts of the park you can even go from follie to follie just by walking on the grass .Maybe this is what gives you that sense of freedom and relaxation when you visit the park .

Both parks can make you travel and take you in a difference place . All the park’s features make the visitors imagination to work . But the greatest feat of imagination is the park itself. It lies in the fact a group of people were able to look at an industrial wasteland and see what could be. Their imagina­tions engaged what was absent and then made it reality.


Tschumis creation stands as a piece of work that has influenced a large number of architects all over the world and has helped to form a new style and movement of architecture .

In both architecture and fine art, the aim is to create something beautiful, moving peoples’ emotions and feelings while viewing and feeling it. The difference between the two is that in architecture you have to make your creation function specifically to the individual needs necessary to those using it. When designing something, you consistently need to think and reconsider you are doing as architec­ture is something that will remain for many years to come, and people will have to live and interact with it every single day of its existence .When I visited the Parc de la Villette, I felt a sense of calmness and tranquillity.For me it’s a creation that should hold a strong sense of place for a long time .

“Life is not a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics , it is about experience , it is about par­ticipation ,it is more complex and more intresting about what is obvious”

Daniel Libeskind