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Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262231701 | 294 pp. | 6 x 9 in | September 1993
Paperback | $34.95 Trade | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262731140 | 294 pp. | 6 x 9 in | August 1995

The Architecture of Deconstruction

Derrida's Haunt


Nowhere, Mark Wigley asserts, are the stakes higher for deconstruction than in architecture—architecture is the Achilles' heel of deconstructive discourse, the point of vulnerability upon which all of its arguments depend. In this book Wigley redefines the question of deconstruction and architecture. By locating the architecture already hidden within deconstructive discourse, he opens up more radical possibilities for both architecture and deconstruction, offering a way of rethinking the institution of architecture while using architecture to rethink deconstructive discourse.

Wigley relentlessly tracks the tacit argument about architecture embedded within Jacques Derrida's discourse, a curious line of argument that passes through each of the philosopher's texts. He argues that this seemingly tenuous thread actually binds those texts, acting as their source of strength but also their point of greatest weakness. Derrida's work is seen to render architecture at once more complex, uncanny, pervasive, unstable, brutal, enigmatic, and devious, if not insidious, while needing itself to be subjected to an architectural interrogation.

Wigley provocatively turns Derrida's reading strategy back on his texts to expose the architectural dimension of their central notions like law, economy, writing, place, domestication, translation, vomit, spacing, laughter, and dance. Along the way he highlights new aspects of the relationship between Heidegger and Derrida, explores the structural role of ornament and the elusive architecture of haunting, while presenting a fascinating account of the institutional politics of architecture.

About the Author

Mark Wigley is Professor of Architecture at Columbia University.


“The many ever unexpected twists and turns of the dancingdeconstructivist...give the book its meaning. It is the'insistent indirectness' of the argument which is impresive.The current architectural discourse is not so much rejuvenated by it, as rediscovered in all its magnitude and profundity...the ethical and political engagement of this text is never far to seek. Experiencing this intoxicating dance is a real delight, and that in itself vouches for its merit. This text is warmly recommended to architects, philosophers and to everyone else.”—Geert Bekaert, Archis Magazine