Design: A Crazy Building in Columbus: Peter Eisenman

Peter Eisenman, architecture's bad boy, finally hits his stride

Peter Eisenman spent his 30s and 40s being the angriest, most intellectually convoluted, infuriating major architect in America, a really terrible enfant terrible. Both his innumerable theoretical essays and his few buildings (four houses in two decades) seemed pretentious and willfully opaque, caricatures of neomodernism. One Eisenman house had a column in the bedroom that precluded a bed, another a hole in the floor and a stairway that ran from the ceiling halfway down a wall. The architect used to say he would not dream of living in one of his houses ("Art and life are two different things").

But all...