Lebbeus Woods was a American architect known for his revolutionary and innovative architectural theories and experimentations which helped establish him as one of the most original architectural visionaries. Woods dealt with projects theorizing architecture in areas in crisis. Woods was the founder of the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture (RIEA). He also served as a Professor of Architecture at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, and later, as a Professor of Visionary Architecture at the European Graduate School (EGS).
Lebbeus Woods was born on May 31, 1940, in Lansing, Michigan. He attended the University of Illinois to receive his architectural education, and later enrolled at the Purdue University to pursue his education in engineering. Upon the completion of his education, Woods began working with renowned architect and industrial designer, Eero Saarinen, who is considered one of the pioneers of the 20th century American architecture.
Soon, Woods launched his own private practice and began developing various iconic and remarkably revolutionary projects that were based on his theoretical concepts that proclaimed architecture as a significant political force in society. One of the highly acclaimed and globally praised designs of Wood’s include his project on a possible future of the Korean De-militarized Zone, which basically shows a hangar-like structure supported by a heteroclite and unconventional netting and cobwebbing of support beams that come out of winding and twisting columns cobbled with tiny windows and metal sheets.
Woods was a first-hand witness of the Bosnian war as he was there working as a journalist. Later when the turmoil ended, he was commissioned to prepare a design for the reconstruction of the Electrical Management Building in Sarajevo. His design depicted a self-created space from the ashes of an unsuccessful and calamitous past, as a sign of the survival of Bosnia and the renovation and reconstruction of the buildings turned to wrecks by the war. The design was never constructed, however, its concept and originality is celebrated to this day.
Woods has designed iconic and famous buildings in Cuba and China among other countries. He was highly acclaimed and praised for his innovative proposals and conceptual designs, his “Neo-mechanical Tower, Upper Chamber” was used in the design of the film, 12 Monkeys, without Woods’ consent, but he was later compensated with a six-figure settlement. He is the proud recipient of the prestigious Chrysler Award for his “Innovation in Designs”. His works are displayed in various public collections all over the world, including the the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris; the Austrian Museum of Applied Art, Vienna; the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Getty Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities.
Lebbeus Woods has made several influential and notable literary contributions to the field of architecture, some of his highly acclaimed and widely discussed works include, “Lebbeus Woods: System Wein”, “The Storm and the Fall”, “Lebbeus Woods: Experimental Architecture”, “Histaormina: Workshop”, “Earthquake! A Post-Biblical View”, “War and Architecture”, “Radical Reconstruction”, “Lebbeus Woods: Anarchitecture Architecture Is a Political Act”, “The New City”, and the “Free-zone-Berlin: ein Projekt für das Zentrum der Metropole: Ausstellung” among others.