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The Building Of The Month V

The Building Of The Month V

Spirit in will to express can make the great sun seem small. The sun is. Thus the Universe. Did we need Bach? Bach is. Thus music is. Did we need Boullée? Did we need Ledoux? Boullée is. Ledoux is. Thus Architecture is. - Louis I. Kahn

Kahn’s question “You say to a brick, What do you want, brick? And brick says to you, I like an arch. And you say to brick, Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel. And then you say: What do you think of that, brick? Brick says: ‘I like an arch.”

Louis Kahn’s inquisitive mind is inspiring, especially as I was in my infancy in understanding what makes building different from architecture. Kahn (1901–1974) was not only a poet, an avid writer, scholar and teacher, he was one of the most revered American architects. At the core of Kahn’s work is his ability to translate his philosophical position into the physical world with grace and power.

A great building must begin with the unmeasurable and in the end must be unmeasurable. Like the Salk Institute we visited this week in San Diego.