21 Oct 2011 /

what does a brick want?

By louis i. kahn

If there is such a thing as a "truth in materials", maybe the best way to find out what that could be is to simply ask the material itself. The bellow parable by architect Louis I. Kahn (February 20, 1901 or 1902 – March 17, 1974) reminds us to first listen closely to the objects and world around us, to understand their nature, and then find a proper and feasible use for them if such is needed.  


“To express is to drive.
And when you want to give something presence,
you have to consult nature.
And there is where Design comes in.

And if you think of Brick, for instance,
and you say to Brick,
"What do you want Brick?"
And Brick says to you
"I like an Arch."
And if you say to Brick
"Look, arches are expensive,
and I can use a concrete lentil over you.
What do you think of that?"
Brick says:
"... I like an Arch"”

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