Saturday, August 20, 2011


Realization is Realization in Form, which means a nature. You realize that something has a certain nature. A school has a certain nature, and in making a school the consultation and approval of nature are absolutely necessary. In such a consultation you can discover the Order of water, the Order of wind, the Order of light, the Order of certain materials. If you think of brick, and you're consulting the Orders, you consider the nature of brick. You say to brick, "What do you want, brick?" Brick says to you, "I like an arch." If you say to brick, "Arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete linter over an opening. What do you think of that, brick?" Brick says, "I like an arch."

It is important that you honor the material you use. You don't bandy it about as though to say, "Well, we have a lot of material, we can do it one way, we can do it another way." It's not true. You must honor and glorify the brick instead of shortchanging it and giving it an inferior job to do in which it loses its character, as, for example, when you use it as infill material, which I have done and you have done. Using brick so makes it feel as though it is a servant, and brick is a beautiful material. It has done beautiful work in many places and still does. Brick is completely live material in areas that occupy three quarters of the world, where it is the only logical material to use. Concrete is a highly sophisticated material, not so available as you think.
You can have the same conversation with concrete, with paper or papier-mache, or with plastic, or marble, or any material. The beauty of what you create comes if you honor the material for what it really is. Never use it in a subsidiary way so as to make the material wait for the next person to come along and honor its character.

by Louis Kahn

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