Kahn did it, Kahn did it...

 Let me start with a Happy Father’s Day to pretty much all the dads out there. I’m having a great one with Spence and Stern, I am indeed a lucky man. (Lucky Man is from the Verve’s 1997 album Urban Hymns. One of my favorite albums of all time – get past the obvious Bittersweet Symphony and find a rich and rewarding listen.)

As it turns out, I’m kind of taking this week off, but not out of laziness. I spent the last couple of hours writing about the concept of the street as a public room. A number of architects and planners have described the concept over the years - the road itself and the sidewalks serve as the floor, the faces of buildings and trees form the walls, and of course, the sky is the ceiling. As with a “real” room the quality of the “street room” is based on a number of factors. The scale and proportion of the floors and walls, the quality of material and manufacture, activities in the space, and the level of detailing are all determining factors in whether or not the room is comfortable.

I wanted to write something that went beyond those somewhat quantifiable factors. I wanted to address the immeasurable- the spirit that make these public spaces so very important to us. So, in a thousand words I came up with a post that I was pleased with. As is my writing wont, I took a break to browse around do some reading on similar topics, only to have a “Simpson’s did it” moment. A year before my birth, upon his receipt of the AIA Gold Medal, Louis Kahn delivered a talk in Detroit. I’ve read the transcript probably half a dozen times over the years and it has no doubt consciously and subconsciously driven my appreciation for the importance of the urban public realm. But perhaps because I’ve been hyper-focused on the concept for the past couple of hours, I’ve found a newfound clarity in his words. In any event, after revisiting his work my trifling thousand words fell victim to the delete button, and I offer you:  

The Room, The Street, and Human Agreement. 
follow this link to read the transcript

Kahn did it, Kahn did it..

Nothing else need be written...

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff as usual, C Rush. (Would still like to read your 100 words, though.) Never had read that Kahn talk. Amazing, especially considering that during Kahn's career America was systematically abandoning and/or destroying our cities. Interesting statement at the end:

    "Architects must not accept the commecial divisions of their profession into urban design, city planning, and architecture as though they were three different professions. The architect can turn from the smallest house to the greatest complex, or the city. Specialization ruins the essence..."

    Makes me wonder, how many of us that are called architects don't meet this definition and how many that aren't do?