American architect, conceptual artist, teacher and writer. He studied at the Cooper Union, New York (1947–50), University of Cincinnati, OH (1950–52), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1952–3), and the University of Rome (Fulbright scholar, 1954). Hejduk began teaching architecture in 1954, and in 1964 he joined Cooper Union, becoming Dean of the School of Architecture there in 1975. He also worked in various architectural offices in New York, including that of I. M. Pei (1956–8), and in 1965 he established his own office in New York. From 1954 to 1963 he worked in a purposefully dry, reductive style strongly influenced by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and De Stijl. This is illustrated in the Nine Square Problem (c. 1954), a linear grid concerned with such concepts as frame, post, centre, periphery, extension and compression, which was developed as a pedagogical tool for first-year students. It became the basis for his Texas Houses project (1954–63; unexecuted): seven designs ranging from classicizing simplicity to complex architectural renderings of Cubist principles. The Diamond Projects (1963–7; unexecuted) comprised a series of house designs that addressed the formal ramifications of Mondrian’s tipping of the square canvas by 45° while retaining the internal arrangements of pure horizontals and verticals. Hejduk participated in the New york five exhibition at MOMA, New York, in 1969, and his work continued to be widely exhibited throughout his career. In 1975 he completed the renovation of the Cooper Union Foundation Building, New York, the one major project actually built up to that time. Around 1975 narrative and ‘anthropomorphization’ began to appear in his projects, with structures taking part in disquieting, personal allegories. Here precise architectural drawings, models and loose renderings placing the monuments in landscapes reminiscent of de Chirico, together with accompanying notes, constitute the total work (e.g. the allegorical trilogy Cemetery for the Ashes of Thought, 1975; Silent Witnesses, 1976; and Thirteen Watchtowers of Cannaregio, 1979). The aspect of the architectural project as narrative setting took full form in the Masques (1979–83) and subsequent renderings of urban landscapes (e.g. Vladivostok and Bovisa, c. 1987–9). During the 1980s Hejduk built a number of structures, for example the House of the Painter and House of the Musician (1983) in the Great Hall, Gropiusbau, Berlin; House of the Suicide (1986–90) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; and buildings for social housing (1988)—three in Friedrichstadt, Berlin, and one at Tegel Harbour, Berlin—which were ‘characters’ or parts of the settings in the urban scenes. He also completed a series of lithographs illustrating Thomas Mann’s The Black Swan (New York, 1990); some recall Suprematist compositions, others show architectural forms in stark silhouette. Hejduk was often characterized as a ‘paper architect’, but in the 1980s more of his structures were being built at a time when his projects were increasingly conceptual, which supported assertions of the fundamentally architectural concerns of his work.
From Grove Art Online
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