chapter  5
10 Pages

Arbitrariness

The opposition of Eisenman and Krier can be likened to the difference between the effort to return to the abstract formalism of avant-garde and an architecture that looks at the classical tradition. Anthony Vidler summarizes this opposition as a contest between a posthumanist modernism and a retrohumanist post-modernism. Both Eisenman's and Krier's discourses are derived from a negative strategy, to paraphrase Sarah Whiting. Krier thinks that nothing can be done within the existing processes of capitalism. The only possible option is looking to the past and resisting capitalism's technocracy. The truly reprehensible aspect of Nazi architecture was its technological modernism, its faith in progress and expansion. In this sense, the desire for paradox and provocation, and a certain polemical spirit connects Krier's and Eisenman's biographies. Both Krier and Eisenman considered classical architecture to be the highest expression of concepts like order, unity and stability. Krier saw fragmentation as a pathology; Eisenman conceived of fragmentation as alienation from contemporaneity.