Book Review: Condemned Building

Condemned Building by Douglas Darden, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 1993. Paperback, 160 pages. (Amazon)

Containing ten unrealized, "rhetorical" projects, this book presents Darden's search for architectural meaning through his unique design process, his love of literature and poetry, and the skilled hands of a master delineator. His dis/continuous genealogies - separate images superimposed to create a new, hybrid image - are an adequate analogy for the book, which layers hidden meanings beneath the surfaces and forms of the architecture. The conceptual clarity and unique point-of-view make each project memorable, though the reader is rewarded through careful investigations of the multiple layers. Three years after the publication of this, his sole book in 1993, architect Douglas Darden died of leukemia at the age of 42. Princeton Architectural Press recently reprinted the book in a limited edition due to its ongoing popularity.