Lebbeus Woods


1949 - 2012

Lebbeus Woods was perhaps the last of the visionary architects, if by ‘visionary’ we mean those with no hope of ever seeing their works built. Born in Michigan in 1940, his architectural calling came early on in life. Already at age 20 he was on board the team of Eero Saarinen, then the champion of functionalist at its most sensual. But Woods soon broke all ties to cultivate an unmistakable style of dislocations of space and deconstuctions of form, shaping a universe that, far from aspiring to a utopia, indulged in the landscapes of destruction, such as the Berlin of the postwar, the Sarajevo of the 1990s or the Havana of persisting want. With ambitions of this kind, drawing became his main mode of expression, and eventually also his refuge, despite profitable incursions into the world of movies (he was the ‘conceptual architect’ of Alien 3). When he died, he was about to complete his first built work. Located in Beijing, the Light Pavilion is an ethereal jumble of bright steel tubes that evokes one of his early visions: the Albert Einstein tomb that would go in orbit around the Earth until the end of time.

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