Lebbeus Woods (1940-2012)

Image: (Top) Reconstruction Design of the Electrical Management Building in Sarajevo by Lebbeus Woods (1994). (Bottom) Computer rendering by Carlos Fueyo (2004) / Source: dpr-barcelona (November 23, 2009)

“Architecture, as a social and primarily constructive act, could heal the wounds (of suffering and terror), by creating entirely new types of space in the city. These would be what I had called ‘freespaces,’ spaces without predetermined programs of use, but whose strong forms demanded the invention of new programs corresponding to the new, post-war conditions (…) The design for the reconstruction of the Electrical Management Building is a case study in the application of this theory. Most of the building would be restored to accommodate corporate offices of the known kind. However, in the space that had been literally blasted off by artillery fire, would be constructed a freespace, to be inhabited by those who, in the reinvention of ways to inhabit space, would open the way to the future.” – Lebbeus Woods, “The Reality of Theory,” February 6, 2008.

Lebbeus Woods, the visionary architect, educator, writer, and maker of some of the most beautiful drawings has passed away. His “aestheticized politics” continue to inspire, confound, and complicate my obsession with architecture’s social and political responsibility. As Michael Kimmelman, who broke the news via Twitter said, “Yes to Michael Sorkin’s writing: Woods’ “ever-expanding discourse of the almost possible is an inspiration not just to build but to think” (emphasis mine). How not to remain just a “drawing room” architect, however, is another question [1].

R.I.P. Lebbeus Woods.
See also: BLDGBLOG’s tribute: Lebbeus Woods, 1940-2012 (October 30, 2012)

[1] Dutton on Woods and Krier in “Cultural Studies and Critical Pedagogy,” Reconstructing Architecture (1996).

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