Page N2.2 . 26 July 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
  • New Virtual Reality Theater Supports Architectural Research
  • In Memory of John Hejduk, 1929-2000

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    In Memory of John Hejduk, 1929-2000


    As with his architecture, Hejduk's teaching method drew from his students' inner motives and personal histories, exploring the creation of architectural space by linking it to poetic narratives or other disciplines such as medicine or music. He had a fascination for the space created by musical instruments and would propel his students to discover architectural space where they might never have thought it existed.

    In the past 15 years, some of Hejduk's architectural works moved from paper and models to built reality, on sites around the world, such as Berlin, Milan, Boston, Oslo, Philadelphia, London, Buenos Aires, and Prague. Many of these projects came about when students, teachers, and others fascinated by Hejduk's work came together to build.

    When I asked Hejduk in an interview during the late 1980s about this characteristic of these built projects, he was somewhat bemused. "In each place construction became a mysterious ritual," Hejduk explained. "People became politically and socially connected."

    In 1990, Hejduk was invited by Czech authorities, including President Vaclav Havel, to have his House of the Suicide built in Prague. The project was inspired by the story of Jan Palach, who burned himself to death in Wenceslas Square to protest the Soviet invasion—a sacrifice that galvanized dissent in 1968. In what was perhaps the height of his career, Hejduk helped Havel dedicate his House of the Suicide in the Royal Gardens of the Czech Palace.

    Michael J. Crosbie is an architect, author, professor, associate with Steven Winter Associates, Inc., and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek.

    Drawings are from The Lancaster/Hanover Masque, 1980-1982, courtesy of the John Hejduk Archive, Collection of the Centre Canadien d'Architecture/ Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.

    The Mask of Medusa photographs are presented by courtesy of the Proa Foundation, Buenos Aires.



    ArchWeek Photo

    House of the Suicide.
    Image: John Hejduk Archive, Collection CCA

    ArchWeek Photo

    Druggist's Place, Vaults, and Prison House.
    Image: John Hejduk Archive, Collection CCA

    ArchWeek Photo

    Tower Hill, Plot Division, Hedge Walk, Horseshoe Place, Post Office, Balloonist Unit and The Voided Center.
    Image: John Hejduk Archive, Collection CCA

    ArchWeek Photo

    Thirty-one buildings and vehicles.
    Image: John Hejduk Archive, Collection CCA

    ArchWeek Photo

    The Mask of Medusa, Buenos Aires.
    Photo: Proa Foundation

    ArchWeek Photo

    Erected at the doorstep of Fundacion Proa, where the river turns, Hejduk's Buenos Aires project can be seen from several entrances to the city.
    Photo: Proa Foundation


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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