The Source Books in Architecture series documents the work of the Herbert Baumer Distinguished Visiting Professors at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. While previous books have addressed a single project of the Baumer Professor, this one has a slightly different focus. Stan Allen was the Baumer Professor at the school in 2012–13, and this book documents projects that were discussed during Allen’s seminar as well as the theoretical position that Allen began to articulate with Field Conditions in 1996. Twenty years is a remarkable duration for a contemporary architectural position to hold the interest of its author and audience.
Since the publication of Field Conditions, advances in digital technology have led to an exhaustive range of experimentation, refinement, and finally, factions in design style and strategy. Expressive form and gymnastic geometry are now available to even novice designers, and have worked their way into popular culture and onto the wish lists of public and private clients. While digital advances have expanded architecture’s lexicon, their seductive potential has sometimes trumped architecture’s performance beyond the iconographic. Fatigue and forgetfulness, in such cases, displace architecture’s broader cultural potential. It is noteworthy that Allen’s project has progressed in parallel with and taken advantage of digital developments. However, the digital project may have run its course as an independent trajectory. This book provides evidence that Allen’s project endures through new realizations and applications.