In addition to his architectural typology, Hejduk also mobilizes a repertoire of building elements, some of which have already been noted in my description of the Clock/Collapse of Time and the Object/Subject. The built projects exhibit a stark elementalism and deploy an apparently self-disclosing tectonic system of simple structural frames in wood or steel with panel cladding. Despite the patent tactility of the works, no rationalist interpretation can account for their strange indifference to material or the constructional mysteries that have presented themselves to builders working from Hejduk's apparently straightforward "construction drawings." Instead, constructive elementalism has been drawn into an exchange between theatrical and formal / expressive practices.
3. Biography : Practice and Theory
Hejduk once explained in an interview the process by which he studies the works and writings of other architects and artists, how--in the terms of the interviewer-he "processes information which is historical"or--in the terms I have been using--how he thinks and works through the shells of thought about architecture that others have left behind. His reply is revealing :
It's strange. This is a good question. Well fundamentally I read them but I don't read them. I'll give you an example using Corb. From 1953 to 1963, I would take Corb hooks and just pore over them, looking at them, night after night, literally, just going through the hooks, a thousand times, until I had absorbed Corbusier... absorbed the images, the organizations, into me as an organism, like blotting paper. Now I don't have to look at them.5
5. Interview with Don Wall, in John Hejduk, Mask of Medusa : Works 1947-1983 (New York : Rizzoli, 198.5), op. Cit., 35-36.