Željka Pješivac

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The study investigates implementation of conceptual and textual techniques associated with poststructuralism (such as poststructuralist concepts of writing, text, intertext, discoursive practices) in Rem Koolhaas's project the Jussieu Library (1992) planned within the Sorbonne University complex in Paris. The main hypothesis of the study is that Koolhaas produces in the project for the Jussieu Library transgression of language of modernistic architecture conceiving the concept of architectural promenade as a scene of writing. In other words, from the understanding of the concept of architectural promenade as a self-reflexive, abstract and autonomous concept, we move to the understanding of the architectural promenade as culturally dependent, but also for culture and society determinant concept. How does Koolhaas embody operative ideological practices of poststructuralism in the case of the Jussieu Library? How can we understand the concept of architectural promenade as a scene of writing? In other words, how can we understand the architectural promenade as a field of lines of deterritorialization and reterritorialization of different narratives, discourses, ideologies, contexts? What role could this concept of the architecture have on society? In theoretical context the study refers to the investigations of: Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucault, Joseph Beuys, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.



poché, dervé, scene of writing, the Jussieu Library

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M. Šuvaković, Pojmovnik moderne i postmoderne likovne umetnosti i teorije posle 1950. godine, Beograd: Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti; Novi Sad: Prometej, 1999, p. 300.


According to the classification stated in the essay: “Koolhaas's Libraries“, S. C. Mattern, , Access Date (12.10. 2015).

Image sources:;, Access Date (12.11. 2015).

F. Samuel, Le Corbusier and the Architectural Promenade,, Access Date (10.11. 2015).

H. Muschamp, New York Times, February 25, 2001, p. 42, in , S. C. Mattern, “Koolhaas's Libraries“,, Access Date (10.10.2015).

See: R. Koolhaas, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, New York: The Monacelli Press, 1994, p. 91.

M. Tawa, Agencies of the Frame: Tectonic Strategies in Cinema and Architecture, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, p.192.



J. Barnum, “Social Sculpture: Enabling Society to Change Itself“, , Access Date (11.01.2016), p. 2.

Image sources: , Access Date (11.11.2015).

Émile Benveniste in the book Problems in General Linguistics (1966) establishes the difference between discourse and language. The difference between discourse and language (fr. langue), that is between sentence (as a unit of discourse) and sign (as a unit of language) is based on meaningful dimension of sentence, that is on the possibility that the sentence has the certain meaning that lexical units of certain language system (signs) could not have. Exactly in this meaningful dimension in relation to linguistic units Benveniste’s concept of discourse differs from Ferdinand de Saussure’s concept of speech (fr. parole). In Saussure’s division language/speech (fr. langue/parole) the semiotic relationships have the priority over the semantic relationships (langue is language as a system, the sum of rules and norms, and parole is speech as an individual usage of this rules), while in Benveniste’s division language/discourse it is vice versa (the semantic relationships are more important than the semiotic relationships). (See: V. Biti, Pojmovnik suvremene književne teorije, Zagreb: Matica Hrvatska, 1997, p. 62). Meaning for Benveniste is more important, because discourse imprints to linguistic units eventness, that is spatial-temporal punctuality. (Ibid.) This eventness results from the triple contingent act of utterance: the first directed toward the given subject, the second toward the given collocutor and the third toward the given situation. Sentence thus exists only in the moment of its utterance and immediately disappears after that. It is an event in disappearance. Discourse is tied to reality, and exactly that reality (signified) makes him susceptible to identification and repetition. We could say that in opposition to the language that does not make reference to the practice, discourse is constructed by the practice: discourse is the language that circulates within the social formations.

J. Barnum, “Social Sculpture: Enabling Society to Change Itself“, op. cit., p. 3.



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