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Louis I Kahn's THREE ASPECTS OF TEACHING ARCHITECTURE

By Saurav Shrestha in Design Dabali (Files) Edit Doc We were talking earlier this afternoon of the three parts of teaching architecture. Actually I believe that I do not really teach architecture, but that I teach myself. These, however, are the three aspects:

The first aspect is professional. As a professional you have the obligation of learning your conduct in all relationships in institutional relationships, and in your relationships with men who entrust you with work. In this regard, you must know the distinction between science and technology. The rules of aesthetics also constitute professional knowledge. As a professional, you are obliged to translate the program of a client into that of the spaces of the institution this building is to serve. You might say it is a space-order, or a space-realm of this activity of man which is your professional responsibility. A man should not take the program and simply give it to the client as though he were filling a doctors prescription.

Another aspect is training a man to express himself. This is his own prerogative. He must be given the meaning of philosophy, the meaning of belief, the meaning of faith. He must know the other arts. I used examples which I maybe have used too many times, but the architect must realize his prerogative. He must know that a painter can turn people upside down, if he wants to, because the painter does not have to answer to the laws of gravity. The painter can make doorways smaller than people; he can make skies black in the daytime; he can make birds that cant fly; he can make dogs that cant run, because he is a painter. He can paint red where he sees blue. The sculptor can place square wheels on a cannon to express the futility of war.

An architect must use round wheels, and he must make his doorways bigger than people.

But architects must learn that they have other rights their own rights. To learn this, to understand this, is giving the man the tools for making the incredible, which nature cannot make. The tools make a psychological validity, not just a physical validity, because man, unlike nature, has choice.

The third aspect you must learn is that architecture really does not exist. Only a work of architecture exists. Architecture does exist in the mind. A man who does a work of architecture does it as an offering to the spirit of architecture a spirit which knows no style, knows no techniques, no method. It just waits for that which presents itself. There is architecture, and it is the embodiment of the unmeasurable. Can you measure the Parthenon? No. This is sheer murder. Can you measure the Pantheon, that wonderful building which satisfies the institution of man?

When Hadrian thought of the Pantheon, he wanted a place where anyone could come to worship. How marvelous is this solution. It is a non-directional building, not even a square, which would give, somehow, directions and points at the corners. There was no chance to say that there is a shrine here, or there. No. The light from above is such that you cant get near it. You cant stand under it; it almost cuts you like a knife and you want to stand away from it.

What a terrific architectural solution. This should be an inspiration for all architects, such a building so conceived.