BERNARD TSCHUMI - Architecture: Concept & Notation

Curator Bernard Tschumi Architects
Sponsor Pro Helvetia Shanghai、VACHERON CONSTANTIN

Following exhibitions devoted to the work of Kazuo Shinohara, Renzo Piano, Yona Friedman and others, the Power Station of Art will host the first Chinese retrospective of the architect and theorist Bernard Tschumi. This exhibition is organized around Tschumi’s many public roles: a theorist, builder, and a cultural presence. The exhibition, which opens to the public on March 12th and runs through June 19th, showcases three hundred and fifty drawings, sketches, collages, and models, many of them never shown previously.

Bernard Tschumi: Concept and Notation explores Tschumi's work as a theorist, educator, and architect. At the core of his activity is a rejection of the conventions that assimilate architecture to the production of static form. Tschumi proposesan entirely different definition, starting from the inscription of the body and social activities into architectural space. Architecture, he insists, cannot be dissociated from the events that take place within it, and its production as abuiltproject requires a concept-based approach. Hence, Tschumi explore new modes of writing architectural space—“notation”—so as to transcribe the interactions between space, movement, and action

LaVillette © JM Monthiers

Inspired by the restless, questioning energy of May ‘68, Tschumifirst taught and began his theoretical work at London’s Architectural Association. This early work introduces both poststructuralist thought and the neighboring disciplines of the visual arts, film, and literature into architectural theory. Most of his early projects were designed as theoretical manifestos that were synthesized in the drawing seriesThe Manhattan Transcripts, which was produced whenTschumi settled in New York City in the mid-1970s. This research led to the landmark Parc de la Villette, followed by the interdisciplinary art school at Le Fresnoy, The Acropolis Museum, the headquarters and manufacturing center of Vacheron Constantin, and other projects allying concepts to theiroften remarkably beautiful materialization.


Tschumi’s approach is to question the fundamentals of architecture—a conceptual attitude that finds its materialization in tangible orbuilt form. This exploratory process runs through the architect’s work and is described here in five thematic and chronological chapters: Space and Event; Program, Juxtaposition and Superimposition; Vectors and Envelopes; Concept, Context and Content; and Concept-Forms. The exhibition brings into focus Tschumi’s insistence that architecture, before becoming the knowledge of form or even visual effect, is first and foremost a form of knowledge.

About Architect

Bernard Tschumi is a world-renowned architect, writer, and educator. Born of French and Swiss parentage in Switzerland, he has citizenships of France and Switzerland. He now works and lives in New York City and Paris, and is a certificated architect in both countries.

For a long time, Tschumi served as the dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He has practices in both New York and Paris, and often wins awards in major design competitions around the world. His fresh design ideas have brought big impacts to the architectural field around the world, and his notable projects include the Parc de la Villette in Paris, France, the Tokyo National Theater, the Vacheron-Constantin Headquarters and Manufacturing Center, the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, and the Museum for African Art. In addition, Tschumi is also an author of theoretical publications, and has held joint exhibitions with other architects. His fresh and unique architectural ideas have had great influences on the new-generation architects.