Bernard Tschumi, Manhattan Transcripts, 1976-1981.
I’m not going to attempt to know much at all about Bernard Tschumi, beyond what we learned in his previous essay, though the Manhattan Transcripts have been on my Amazon wish list for a while. (It's just $170+.) It is my understanding that Tschumi is up there with Tafuri and Rowe and Eisenman when it comes to the level his intellectual work had on architectural theory and practice. The Manhattan Transcripts obviously take a lot from Eisenstein’s critical diagrams, a reference Tschumi himself acknowledges. Other than that, I’ll point you to Tschumi’s wiki page where you can read a bit about him and the Transcripts. (Note the comparison to SuperStudio.) And without further ado, here’s the snippet provided by Hays, which I believe is pretty self explanatory, followed by some more comments from Tschumi.
Quoted in the anthology:
"The Manhattan Transcripts differ from most architectural drawings insofar as they are neither real projects nor mere fantasies. They propose to transcribe an architectural interpretation of reality. To this aim, they use a particular structure indicated by photographs that either direct or ‘witness’ events (some would say ‘functions,’ others would call them ‘programs’). At the same time, plans, sections, and diagrams outline spaces and indicate the movements of the different protagonists—those people intruding into the architectural ‘stage set.’ The effect is not unlike an Eisenstein film script or some Moholy-Nagy stage directions. Even if the Transcripts become a self-contained set of drawings, with its own internal coherence, they are first a device. Their explicit purpose is to transcribe things normally removed from conventional architectural representation, namely the complex relationship between spaces and their use; between the set and the script; between ‘type’ and ‘program’; between objects and events. Their implicit purpose ahs to do with the twentieth-century city. "
From Bernard Tschumi’s website (and presumably from the Transcripts):
“The dominant theme of the Transcripts is a set of disjunctions among use, form, and social values; the non-coincidence between meaning and being, movement and space, man and object was the starting condition of the work. Yet the inevitable confrontation of these terms produced effects of far-ranging consequences. The Transcripts aimed to offer a different reading of architecture in which space, movement, and events are independent, yet stand in a new relation to one another, so that the conventional components of architecture are broken down and rebuilt along different axes.
“While the programs used for The Manhattan Transcripts are of the most extreme nature, they also parallel the most common formula plot: the archetype of murder. Other phantasms were occasionally used to underline the fact that perhaps all architecture, rather than being about functional standards, is about love and death. By going beyond the conventional definition of use and program, the Transcripts used their tentative format to explore unlikely confrontations.”
Noteworthy elements of this bit, and surely of the entire Transcripts, is the new interpretation of the relationship between architectural setting or elements and the events that take place in them; the intentionally different relationship that Tschumi sees there is that, while architects typically design space and program to be directly related, Tschumi’s drawings depict the conflict arising when these two are not directly related, when they come into direct aggression against each other. Also note the inherently literary elements of this approach, a thread we’ve encountered recently in the anthology.