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Biology-Pharmacy- Chemistry Cluster Université Paris-Saclay

a Positive “Obsession” with Pathways

Bernard Tschumi Architects | Groupe-6

Biology-Pharmacy- Chemistry Cluster Université Paris-Saclay
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -

To be honest, it cannot be easy to always be grouped together with or compared to whatever you do or produce, but when a designer is part of a consecrated triad from the Olympus of contemporary architecture, one that magically emerged from the Architectural Association in London over 40 years ago, uniting the hallowed names of Hadid, Koolhaas and Tschumi, there is simply no escaping it. 

One thing is certain: as time goes by, Bernard Tschumi has demonstrated that before all else, his architectural research is about matter becoming structure, and relationships becoming volumes, whereas the other two found other ways to apply stylistic approaches drawing heavily on their past and the various studios they worked with previously. Not just an architect, Tschumi is an “upstanding” architect, one who has followed what we may define as a linear and coherent study approach. When he embarks on research, he always starts from the urban discourse, from a real-world, well-defined context that only later becomes a canvas onto which other dimensions and concepts may be added. 

He did so in the first project that brought him fame, the Parc de La Villette project on which he collaborated with philosopher Jacques Derrida, reinventing the theme of the urban park through a foundational city with a veritable cardo and decumanus superimposed on a purely typological plot, and levels corresponding to differing constituent components: surfaces, lines and points. This simple summary was a revolution. It also served as an introduction to layer-based design, updated through
computer-aided design – something that, today, is so obvious to our digital-native architecture students that they do not even notice it. 

For decades, we have enclosed Tschumi into a deconstructivist pigeonhole (due to Philip Johnson), even if he has principally been a “deconstructionist” (meaning, truly Derridean!), and...

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