From Field to Form

An event series exploring the possibilities, life cycles, and architectural implications of plant- and earth-based materials.

Plant- and earth-based materials present an opportunity to reinvent what and how we build. From biogenic materials like straw, hemp, and bamboo to geogenic materials like mud and stone, the translation of renewable resources into building materials presents both design opportunities and logistical challenges. 

These materials can significantly reduce buildings’ embodied carbon while eliminating the toxicity of petrochemical products. More generally, they hold the potential to expand the agency of architecture from field to form and back again.

From Field to Form comprises a series of conversations with a range of experts—from manufacturers to engineers, architects to builders—who are working through the challenges of specific biogenic and geogenic materials while evolving a new tectonic paradigm demanded by the climate crisis. 

Some questions to be addressed: What new building materials and assembly techniques are emerging? What are the bottlenecks in manufacturing, code, assembly, cost, supply chains, marketing, and perception? What are the intriguing architectural consequences of these materials? What changes occur to the design process when the scope of a building expands to include the fields that grow its form? 


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.