Sanctuaries: The Last Works of John Hejduk

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9780874271294: Sanctuaries: The Last Works of John Hejduk
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John Hejduk (1929-2000) was one of the most original figures in American architecture and design. Best known for his visionary works and his influence upon graduates of The Cooper Union, New York, where he was dean for twenty-five years, Hejduk largely abstained from conventional practice, focusing instead on theoretical projects, usually in the form of drawings that were combined into poetic, highly personal narratives. Sanctuaries: The Last Works of John Hejduk highlights the architect's later work, in which he made successive attempts to shift his architecture away from the mathematical concerns of his earlier work - which had owed much to Mies van der Rohe and Mondrian - toward an allegorical, carnivalesque mode that he called architectural "masques." In these works, Hejduk presented his architecture in a more lyrical, painterly, and narrative way, and in the last of the works - including Enclosures, a suite of thirty-two drawings reproduced here in its entirety - returned architecture to an overtly spiritual function. The works display a stylistic range from basic geometric forms and elemental biomorphism (buildings that seem to have hair, beaks, eyes, and legs) to typological variations on theaters, periscopes, traps, chapels, and labyrinths. Employing allegorical images of angels, animals, martyrs, and machines, these works explore themes of falls from grace, itinerancy, passage and transformation, and above all, architecture as sanctuary - for art, for culture, for enduring rituals, for the human spirit itself.

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K. Michael Hays is adjunct curator of architecture at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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