hans hollein carl pruscha roland hagmüller stefan a. schumer
moderated by günther feuerstein curated by helmut weihsmann
filmcasino vienna - 2008 02 13
louis i. kahn
about silence and light
i'm going to put on the blackboard here what may seem at first to be very
esoteric. but i believe that i must do it in order to prime myself. don't forget
that i'm also listening and i have really no prepared talk except that i put a few
notes down just to get the scaredness out of me because—like, you know, this is
like a blank piece of paper on which i've got to make a drawing.
and so, the drawing is a talk this time, you see.
it is wonderful to consider, you know, that you must see so well that you hear,
too. and sometimes it is well to hear so well that you see, too. the senses really
can be considered one thing. it all comes together. it is the reason why i
constantly refer to music in refering to architecture, because to me there is no
great difference as far [as]—when you dig deep enough in the realm of not doing
things but simply thinking what you want to do—that all the various ways of
expression come to fore. to me—when i see a plan i must see the plan as though it
were a symphony, of the realm of spaces in the construction and light. i sort of
care less, you see, for the moment, whether it works or not. just so i know that
the principles are respected, which somehow are eternal, about the plan. as soon
as i see a plan which tries to sell me spaces without light, i simply reject it
with such ease, as though it were not even thoughtfully rejected, because i know
that it is wrong. and so, false prophets, like schools that have no natural light,
are definitely un-architectural. those are what i like to call—belong to the
marketplace of architecture but not to architecture itself.
so i must put on the board something which i thought of only recently what could
be a key to my point of view in regard to all works of art including architecture.
there is no attachment? it just works. doesn't it? isn't that marvelous! it's
swiss, really it's swiss!—[the audience laughs—kahn points to the wireless
and so, i put this on the board: silence—and—light. silence is not very, very
quiet. it is something which you may say is lightless— darkless. these are all
invented words. darkless—there is no such a word. but why not? lightless;
darkless. desire to be; to express. some can say this is the ambient soul—if you
go back beyond and think of something in which light and silence were together and
maybe are still together, and separated only for the convenience of argument.