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John Hejduk
The Architect can create illusion, which can be fabricated. --John Hejduk
Since Hejduk is called an architect of illusion, he can in a sense be described as an architect of the visionary and the fanciful. This description is substantiated by the fact that since 1953 not one of his plan projects has been realized. Mention of architectures of the visionary immediately brings to mind a group of great men- including Étienne-Louis Boullée and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux-who have captivated people from the classicists of the eiqhteenth century to the flag bearers of the brilliant and glorious art movements of our century. But there is something decidely different in Hejduk that sets him apart from these men. In Hejduk one cannot see the arbitrary and overwhelming consumption of passionately abandoned and hedonistic architectural forms that are found in he works of Ledoux and Joseph-Jacques Ramee. In these men the forms were born of a way of life. Hejduk's forms are more subtle, refined, and controlled. They are more the results of continuous ascetic dedication than of daring flights of the imagination. In the vast cities and buildings drawn by Boullée and Ledoux, humanity is shown as stringently controlled by the overwhelming and crushing obsession with size. It is size, indeed, that symbolizes the works of these men. Though he works on residential design, from the moment he begins an idea, Hejduk adheres consistently to a main theme. Human beings are seen nowhere in his sketches, which give no indication that they depict places where people might dwell. Boullée and Ledoux create architectural forms that ought to be devoted to the service of society under a new system; they develop a monumentalism of death and nihilism. Hejduk, on the other hand, devotes himself to formal theories that have distance and are abstract. His works are imbued with a lyricism of life. This lyricism, which proves that he is an architect, is the basic meaning of what he calls the poetics of architecture. His illusion is a three-dimensional expression of poetics, and it is in this sense that Hejduk can be called an architect of illusion.




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