Pier Vittorio Aureli, Michael Robinson Cohen, Constantinos Marcou – John Hejduk: Houses

Born in New York in 1929, John Hejduk is one of the most provocative yet enigmatic architects of the second half of the twentieth century. His work consists mainly of unbuilt projects and a handful of realized buildings including the 1980s social housing complex built in Kreuzberg, Berlin, as part of the IBA program. Hejduk’s career was strongly marked by his pedagogical vocation that found its most outstanding manifestation in his teaching and directorship of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper Union in New York City. Hejduk’s work has become especially recognizable for his unique formal language and drawing style whose impact on architects and students of different generations is immense. Today, Hejduk is a cult figure in the architectural world, becoming a sort of architects’ architect. Yet no significant publication has been produced on his work in twenty years. This research, which will result in a publication, aims to offer a critical reading of Hejduk’s work by focusing on his houses, which represent one of the most profound and radical meditations on domestic space.  The research analyzes the series of theoretical projects on domestic space, such as the Texas Houses, the Wall Houses, The England Masks as well as the built housing projects in Berlin and Groningen. The goal of this research is to situate Hejduk within his historical context and to illustrate how his work can be interpreted as a subtle critique of domesticity.