The dashing Peter Eisenman was the lone speaker at “Past as Prologue,” the Architectural League of New York symposium held Saturday in honor of Michael Graves’s fiftieth year in practice, to appear twice: first in the Paul Goldberger-moderated panel on architectural pedagogy and again for a day-capping conversation with Graves himself. Between the two appearances, Eisenman snuck away to watch the annual Harvard-Yale football game. As the Crimson was busy besting the Bulldogs 31-24, plenty of other longstanding rivalries simmered on stage, where even the conference venue (the recently constructed and steeply pitched Tishman Auditorium at the New School) was not immune to attack. The architectural symposium’s version of the Game’s last-minute 35-yard touchdown was what Eisenman, after initially professing that he felt like he had “gone to the wrong parade,” later described gamely as “The Michael Graves-Peter Eisenman Comedy Hour.” Here are some of the highlights.
On driving forces:
Michael Graves: Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas have their phones ringing all the time with “Would you do this for us?”
Peter Eisenman: For what reason?
MG: To keep ahead of Frank!
PE: What is it that makes your buildings look like they are?
MG: Architecture! I believe in architecture.
PE: So do I. How come they look different?
MG: It doesn’t matter that they look different. They don’t look like [the buildings of] those other people. That’s what’s important.
PE: That’s true.