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Lebbeus Woods (May 31, 1940 – October 30, 2012) was an American architect and artist known for his unconventional and experimental designs.[2][3]

Lebbeus Woods
Lebbeus Woods.jpg
Lebbeus Woods at GSAPP
Born(1940-05-31)May 31, 1940
DiedOctober 30, 2012(2012-10-30) (aged 72)
OccupationArchitect and artist



Woods studied architecture at the University of Illinois and engineering at Purdue University. While Woods called himself an architect he never received a degree in architecture nor was he ever licensed to practice architecture. He first worked in the offices of Eero Saarinen as a field representative on the Ford Foundation building designed by Saarinen in New York City. After leaving Saarinen's office he worked for a short period for the Champaign, Illinois firm of Richardson, Severns Scheeler & Associates. He also produced paintings for the Indianapolis Art Museum during that period. In 1976 he turned exclusively to theory and experimental projects.[3] He designed a light pavilion in the Sliced Porosity Block, Chengdu, China with Steven Holl,[4] and buildings in Havana, Cuba.[5][6] In 1988, Woods co-founded the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture, a nonprofit institution devoted to the advancement of experimental architectural thought and practice while promoting the concept and perception of architecture itself.

The author of nine books, he was a 1994 recipient of the Chrysler Design Award.[3] He was a professor of architecture at the Cooper Union in New York City and at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[2]


The majority of his explorations deal with the design of systems in crisis: the order of the existing being confronted by the order of the new. His designs are politically charged and provocative visions of a possible reality; provisional, local, and charged with the investment of their creators. He is best known for his proposals for San Francisco, Havana, and Sarajevo that were included in the publication of Radical Reconstruction in 1997 (Sarajevo after the war, Havana in the grips of the ongoing trade embargo, and San Francisco after the Loma Prieta earthquake).

Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no "sacred and primordial site." I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then "melt into air." I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.[7]

Woods, who envisioned experimental constructs and environments, stated that, "the interplay of metrical systems establishing boundaries of materials and energetic forms is the foundation of a universal science (universcience) whose workers include all individuals".[This quote needs a citation]

Influence on filmEdit

Woods sued the producers of the film 12 Monkeys, claiming that they copied his work "Neomechanical Tower (Upper) Chamber".[8] Woods won a "six figure sum", and allowed the film to continue to be screened. The end credits state that his work "inspired" the Interrogation Room set.[9]

Woods is credited as the "conceptual architect"[10] for Alien 3, establishing the look and feel of the film, especially the opening sequence.

See alsoEdit


  • Slow Manifesto: Lebbeus Woods Blog by Clare Jacobson (2015), Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 978-1616893347
  • OneFiveFour (2011), Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 978-0-910-41380-0
  • The Storm and the Fall (2004), Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 978-1-568-98421-6
  • Radical Reconstruction (2001), Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 978-1-568-98286-1
  • Pamphlet Architecture 15: War and Architecture (1993), Princeton Architectural Press, ISBN 978-1-568-98011-9
  • The New City (1992), Touchstone Books, ISBN 978-0-671-78117-0 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-671-76812-6 (paperback)



  1. ^ Lebbeus Woods, Experimental Architect, Dies at, access date: October 30, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Lebbeus Woods Faculty Page at European Graduate School (Biography, bibliography and video lectures)". European Graduate School. Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "1994 Chrysler Design Award to Lebbeus Woods". Chrysler Design Awards. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  4. ^ "Two Short Films Capture the Essence of Steven Holl Architects' Sliced Porosity Block". ArchDaily. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  5. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (August 25, 2008). "An Architect Unshackled by Limits of the Real World". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  6. ^ Domus Magazine March 2013
  7. ^ Woods, Lebbeus (2002). War and Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 1. ISBN 1-56898-011-6.
  8. ^,%20INC
  9. ^ Copyright website on "12 Monkeys" Archived February 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Film credits for "Alien 3"

External linksEdit