Remembering Edward Allen, 1997 Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Professor in Architectural Design

September 1, 2020

Edward Allen, a beloved professor, author, and patron of the University of Oregon, the College of Design, and the School of Architecture & Environment passed away at the age of 81 on July 7, 2020, from complications with Parkinson’s Disease.

Allen was a respeportrait of educator and architect Edward Allencted leader on studying the technical construction constraints of architecture, and many of his bestselling architecture books focused on this topic.

“Ed Allen’s legacy at University of Oregon and in architectural design education is enormous,” said Erin Moore, director of the School of Architecture & Environment and associate dean of the College of Design. “I am grateful for his impact here and for his long-term leadership to center rigorous architectural knowledge in the education of architecture students.”

In 1997, Allen was named the Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Professor in Architectural Design. He became a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2000 and was awarded the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2005.

Allen also created the Allen Endowed Fund for Teaching of Architectural Technology, which supports a Technical Teaching in Architecture graduate certificate, a program designed for graduate students interested in the integration of technical building and engineering information with the design education process.

More than 40 students with a passion for teaching integrated design have graduated from the certificate program, noted Architecture Professor Alison Kwok, who is also director of the Technical Teaching program.

“Ed supported our faculty and students in many ways. Many students have learned about the art of teaching through the ARCH 661 Tech Teaching course and from our faculty who teach integrated design. One of Ed’s many publications included a small handbound booklet of classroom tips for teachers, entitled Notes to Myself (2001), as a teaching omiyage (gift) for participants at the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE) retreat in Redfish, Idaho. It has been widely circulated in the profession and has even been used among teachers of music and law. Students in the Tech Teaching class have it as required reading and write reflections on the course blog,” Kwok said. “We deeply miss his annual visits to the UO campus with his wife Mary, Emerita Professor of Biology at Wellesley College.”

Excerpt of Edward Allen's "Notes from Myself"In addition to his time at the University of Oregon, Allen taught architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 15 years, and spent time at University of Washington, Yale University, Montana State University, University of California San Diego, the Boston Architectural Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman, Argentina, and the University of Liverpool, England.

“Ed’s playful approach in linking architectural geometry with structural performance has galvanized generations of students and faculty to consider form and force as interacting drivers in creative design, and has certainly informed my own outlook and work in profound ways,” Caitlin Mueller, MIT associate professor of architecture and civil and environmental engineer, told MIT News for an article about Allen.

Ed was a prolific author of 10 books including Fundamentals of Residential Construction, co-authored with University of Oregon Professor Rob Thallon.

Learn more about Allen’s legacy in his obituary and in Architect magazine.

To help continue Allen’s legacy, donate to the Allen Endowed Fund for Teaching of Architectural Technology.