Lebbeus Woods
Lebbeus Woods




Although he never completed his studies in architecture at the University of Illinois, Woods dedicated a lifetime of research and experimentation to architecture. All the greatest contemporary project designers, from Koolhaas to Hadid, from Libeskind to Tschumi, from Peter Cook to Steven Holl, are his conceptual debtors for having eliminated all the boundaries with respect to the potential of architectural thought. After a brief professional experience with Eero Saarinen in New York on the worksite of the Ford Foundation Building, starting in the mid Seventies he dedicated himself to a purely experimental activity until, in 1988, he founded the RIEA (Research Institute for Experimental Architecture), an institute whose sole purpose was that of familiarizing the general public with the idea of architecture and with the importance that it may have in the fast and continuous social evolution. A precursor of possible realities for a type of architecture that was as yet impossible, he nonetheless gave it the capacity and power to intervene and modify, rethink, reconstruct, ignoring all those technical aspects that thought and technological evolution would sooner or later have rendered possible. Examples of this concept were his ‘radical’ works (Radical Reconstructions, 1997) to reconstruct Sarajevo, Havana and San Francisco (the one after the war and the other two, respectively, after the embargo and after a disastrous earthquake), in which the architectures he proposed was, provocatively, a synonym of renewal. His didactic activity was intense and ongoing and concluded at Cooper Union in New York and with the courses on ‘Visionary Architecture’ at EGS (European Graduate School).  He left behind numerous publications and a careful and precise description of his work in an important web site.