The paper deals with the relation between formal analysis and interpretation in three periods of the theoretical work of the architect Peter Eisenman: a) formalist, b) structuralist and c) post-structuralist ones. In the first period the formal analysis enriched by “complex dialectics” of generic and specific forms prevails. In the second period the formal analysis is influenced by semiotic analysis via self-reflecting sign, yet representation does not refer to any external but mostly to internal formal processes. In the third period the formal analysis is enriched by textual interpretation, together fulfilling the ambition of close reading of architecture. Master work, critical work and canonical work represent three model situations of close reading.