Outside In-Conceptual Reading


This key point in this book is to addresses the question regarding the relationship between contextual elements and architecture. According to the author, architecture and contextual elements known as field conditions are parts that make a whole common system. He uses the analogy of a contemporary city to show the relationship between the different factions of a contextual element. Using a combination of writings and diagrams, the author validates this relationship. He uses the perspective of projects as filters to analyze architecture using the background of the city. His main point throughout the text is that architecture has the characteristic of being simple and thus it can be manipulated through form and point, or using lines.

In the first part of the book, Allen shows the different aspects of field logics and their relation to other aspects in architecture and urbanism. In the second part, he shows the relationship between ratios and geometric structures in the architecture found in urban centers. The third part is an in-depth analysis of planes and lines, and connects this concept to unitary forms and simple combinations in architecture. Further on, Allen analyzes grid fields as maps in the development of structural forms. Within this context, he explains the continuity and relativity of maps. He then moves further to discuss the flock aspect, how it creates distance and the way this relationship may be articulated in the field of architecture. The last part takes Allen to the field of distributed institutions and the application of compositional shifts in architecture.

One of the aspects that bolster the concept of field to condition is found in the part titled ‘From Object to Field’. In this part, the author discusses field logics and how they are related to urbanism and architecture. Allen uses ‘field conditions’ to oppose the approach taken by modernists towards an object. Allen takes the approach that this must be a system that is responsive to the intricacies and complexities involved in any urban setting.

The second aspect that bolsters the concept of field to condition is the way he looks at diagrams as focal points rather than from the perspective of methodology. Allen shows that a diagram can have potential energy that may be interpreted from various perspectives. From the group experience, the geometric versus algebraic combination is of great significance as it connects the aspects of mathematics to form that can be applied in architectural systems in urban settings.

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