An Architect of Ideas, Not Buildings

Lebbeus Woods, Centricity, 1986-88.

A new exhibit celebrates the work of a provocative architect whose work was rarely built.

The Drawing Center is presenting a show on Lebbeus Woods, who designed complex worlds that fostered discussions about the role of architecture. Woods was a professor at The Cooper Union until he died in 2012.

The exhibit presents over 100 works from the past 35 years, including projects addressing cities damaged by war, like Zagreb and Sarajevo, or by nature, in places like the Bay Area. "Buildings that can slip across the surface, that can shift in form," explained co-curator Joseph Becker. "Or can embed themselves into fault lines, to trigger mini-quakes, to offset major quakes, is really looking at all these different ways that architecture can perform," he said.

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, co-curator of the show, said Woods was trained as an engineer and an architect. "He really understood structure and how to draw something that could be built, and then worked quite hard to make sure that it couldn't, so it always remained in the realm of discussion and debate," she said.

The exhibit is on view until June 15.