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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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Gothic Deconstruction: Hegel, Libeskind, and the Avant-Garde

Gothic Deconstruction: Hegel, Libeskind, and the Avant-Garde

(p.232) 9 Gothic Deconstruction: Hegel, Libeskind, and the Avant-Garde
On the Ruins of Babel

Daniel L. Purdy

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Hegel's account of architectural history as it relates to two spatial thinkers usually placed at a far remove: Henri Lefebvre and Daniel Libeskind. While Lefebvre might well be situated in the broad reception of Hegel within French theory, few would posit an affinity between Libeskind's architecture, particularly his Jewish Museum in Berlin, and Hegelian thought. Given Hegel's associations to a state that had given rise to Hitler and the Holocaust, it seems unlikely that a memorial to the Jewish culture in Germany would reiterate Hegel's aesthetics of building. Yet, in architecture and urban planning, the European state is often the sponsor of radical design. And given that Hegel presents several scenarios that demonstrate how grand buildings form national identity, the chapter considers how subversive architecture operates when it is aligned with official policy, especially if that policy is itself highly self-critical.

Keywords:   subversive architecture, G.W.F. Hegel, Henri Lefebvre, Daniel Libeskind, architectural history, avant-garde architecture, aesthetics of building, radical design

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