Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture
In 1960, the renowned architect Philip Johnson championed Frederick Kiesler, calling him "the greatest non-building architect of our time.¿ Kiesler's ideas were difficult to construct, but as Johnson believed, "enormous¿ and "profound.¿ Kiesler (1890-1965) went against the grain of the accepted modern style, rejecting rectilinear glass and steel in favor of more organic forms and flexible structures that could respond to the ever-changing needs of the body in motion. In Elastic Architecture, Stephen Phillips offers the first in-depth exploration of Kiesler's innovative and multidisciplinary research and design practice. Phillips argues that Kiesler established a new career trajectory for architects not as master builders, but as research practitioners whose innovative means and methods could advance alternative and speculative architecture. Indeed, Kiesler's own career was the ultimate uncompromising model of a research-based practice. As Phillips demonstrates vividly, although many of Kiesler's designs remained unbuilt, his ideas proved influential to later generations of architects and speculative artists internationally, including Archigram, Greg Lynn, UNStudio, and Olafur Eliasson.
Stephen J. Phillips is Professor of Architecture at California Polytechnic State University, Founding Director of the Cal Poly Los Angeles Metropolitan Program in Architecture and Urban Design, and Principal Architect at the firm Stephen Phillips Architects (SPARCHS).