TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT February 1978

Kahn and Venturi: An Architecture of Being-in-Context

I prefer “both-and” to “either-or”; “black-and-white-and-sometimes-gray,” to black or white.
—Robert Venturi1

BOTH LOUIS KAHN AND ROBERT VENTURI have reacted to orthodox modern architecture. As different as they are, they complement one another in restoring two vital qualities of experience that were expurgated by the modern movement, Being and context. Kahn was concerned with the eternal qualities of Being (and with human being). He sought essences in buildings, that is, their fundamental natures, their origins beyond the merely circumstantial. Kahn typically asked such questions as: “What is a school?” On the other hand, Venturi (and his firm, Venturi and Rauch)2 is concerned with context. He would probably assert that there are no essences, that the human being is a historical creature existing in historical, locational and personal contexts. Venturi would maintain that reality is circumstantial, and he would be much more concerned with this school for this client in this time and place. Despite their seeming incompatibilities, Kahn’s and Venturi’s positions can be taken together as the basis for a meaningful architecture rooted in Being-in-context.

There is now a widespread recognition of what is termed “the failure of modern architecture.”3 Critics point out that “functionalism” is a style rather than a reality, and that besides frequently not working in simple functional terms, modern buildings are often sterile, hostile and unresponsive to their setting. Furthermore, they use styles, materials, and techniques of construction which are applied universally and which are therefore often inappropriate for local conditions. It is also pointed out that modern architecture has abandoned “language”; the same building form may be used for a chapel, a school, a museum, or a convention center—as Mies van der Rohe in fact did do. In sum, our buildings are alienating to us and are themselves alienated from the human, and even technological, realities of our world.

The limits of functionalism have long been recognized, but the response has often been to reintroduce an esthetic skin on a functional building. Recent critics of modern architecture, especially Charles Moore, Charles Jencks, and Robert Stern, argue for an eclectic “post-modern” alternative.4 Such an approach promises greater variety and responsiveness, but it fails to provide a fundamental analysis responding to deeper problems.

The troubles in modern architecture have not gone unnoticed by those who would take over. Sociologists and behavioral psychologists have developed a field called “environmental psychology,” which seeks to understand and alleviate environmental problems, in effect by intensively applying the rationalism and scientism which caused them in the first place. This approach sidesteps fundamental issues in architecture, namely issues of meaning, in the name of objectivity. Within architecture “design systems methodologists” pursue a similar approach. Neither group has produced particularly successful projects.5

Rationalization in the modern movement is seen in De Stijl, the Bauhaus, early Le Corbusier, and the International Style. De Stijl commentators went so far as to suggest that art surrender its transformative quality and that artists throw themselves into the hands of sanitary engineers who, they said, are the true interpreters of our place in nature.6 The rationalization of architecture is best seen in Bauhaus education as developed in Germany and later adopted in many American schools in the 1940s and 1950s. Famous in this curriculum was the basic design course which was common to various art and design students, including architects. This commonness was important, as it made architecture a form of industrial design, and therefore of culture-free problem solving. Rather than studying building elements and the classical orders, the student was directed back to the “basic” elements of composition: form, texture and color. Later, when the student moved on to building design, instructors made it clear that the project (a house, for example) was not to reflect the student’s own home, as that was probably “middle class”; it was not to reflect history, as that was revivalism; and it was not to reflect other houses in the neighborhood, as that would compromise new universal principles. Grasping for a source of form (since the program itself did not provide them, despite the claims of the functionalists) the student had only the textures, graphic compositions, gray scales, and color patterns of basic design to fall back on. Thus the resulting building was cut off from personal, historical, and locational context, and everybody wondered why it was alienating.

The Bauhaus method of designing from a program contrasted with the Beaux-Arts method of designing from prototypes which came down through history and had intangibles built into them. The limitation there was that the Beaux Arts had frozen the prototypes. The “program” was most important in Bauhaus education. An ideal “functionalist” solution reflects nothing more or less than the requirements of the program—that list of functions, spaces, square footage, and necessary relationships. All intangibles and all undiscovered important issues are omitted. For example, a recently discussed issue (and current fashion) is “defensible space”: now presumably all previous buildings are undefendable. Other important intangibles include, for instance, such cultural issues as the human place in nature.

Behind the program of rationalism and anticontextualism in functionalist architecture was a belief that architecture could be freed from the restrictions and limitations of the past and break out into a future of pure noncontextual significance, a future in which all architecture would at last be based not on subjective (personal), transitory (historical), and local (locational) meanings, but on universal and immutable meanings. Like science, whose success modern architecture (and other arts and social disciplines) sought to emulate, architecture would be founded on the laws of nature, human perception, and the mind’s logic. With these tools the International Style could claim not to be just another style, but to be the end of all style and the beginning of a true scientific architecture.

The problem with the vision of a completely rational and scientific architecture is, of course, that it is impossible. The physical sciences which the architects sought to emulate are themselves not “objective,” but are, as Kuhn7 and others have shown, quite culture-bound. Perception—which the behaviorists cite as the blank reception of data from the world—has repeatedly been shown by phenomenologists, and more recently by the American “new-look” psychologists, to be prestructured by consciousness.8 Gödel and others have shown that no exact language can describe the world without contradiction. In other words, the world simply does not consist of the kind of order used in mathematics or logic. These disciplines can make descriptions which approximate the world, but they are fundamentally and inherently unable fully to describe it9

Rational logic is a language of consciousness, not of nature, and our preoccupation with it has cut us off from rootedness in nature, or, to use Heidegger’s term, from Being. For Heidegger, science and technology bring a darkening of the world in which we become more concerned with gadgets, from genes to space ships, than with our true calling as the shepherds and watchers of Being. So we are lost—as is Being itself, which in Neitzsche’s term has become a “haze.” Now a rejection of rationalism need not imply mysticism or the absurd. There are other forms of order besides rationalism. Of particular interest here are the investigations of Lao Tsu and Heidegger, which are remarkably similar to those of Louis Kahn.

Kahn’s approach to architecture was very different from the rationalism of modern architecture. Kahn sought the eternal in things, which could be found only in their origins. For him the fundamental question was: how does that which is not yet come into being?10 His explorations of this question were in the form of poetry.

Silence, the immeasurable, desire to be, desire to express, the source of new need, meets Light, the measurable, giver of all presence, the measure of things already made, at a threshold which is inspiration, the sanctuary of art, the Treasury of Shadow.

I said that all material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we are made of light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to Light.11

Here Kahn’s metaphor, from Silence to Light to the material world, is similar to Lao Tsu’s:

The unnamed is the mother of the named,
The named is the mother of the Ten Thousand Things.12

It is also similar to Heidegger’s, which sees Being as depending on the fertile ground of non-being.

Kahn terms the way whereby things come from silence into light “order.” To find the essential nature of a thing was to find its order, for which knowledge is of limited use. Rather intuition is to be used, intuition containing the record of our own coming into being. Intuition gives access to the transition from Silence to Light, which is a threshold where art is the appropriate language. Therefore art is our true language and our true calling is as the shepherds for Order (“order” is Kahn’s term; “Being” is Heidegger’s).13 Things come being as Light, and the material world is Light that has spent itself.

Kahn said that expressing our nature is essential to human beings. Desire is the avenue of expression, and there are three great desires: the desire to learn, the desire to meet together, and the desire for wellbeing. All institutions grow out of the common agreement for these desires, and institutions can be kept vital only by being in touch with their origins in the common agreement. Architecture is for institutions and serves the common agreement. During the 1960s our institutions came under attack. Many architects were disillusioned enough to drop out, or else joined in the attacks on behalf of radical political action for reform. In both cases it was felt that meaningful architecture, per se, was no longer possible. Kahn was sensitive to these views but shared neither of them. He was too optimistic to drop out and too realistic to believe that radical political action would bring about a utopia in which architecture would again be meaningful. Rather, he practiced his art on a level above his skeptical times and continually tried to go back to beginnings—to find out what the original essence of education was before designing a school, for example. Only by such a search for beginnings, he felt, could we kindle the spark of vitality in our institutions, which would be absolutely necessary for architecture to have meaning. Other architects have sought to build pure form outside of any understanding of, or belief in, institutions. For Kahn such an approach was meaningless.

Architecture serves institutions but is built with materials, and Kahn was intensely concerned with the order of materials:

In consultation with nature you will 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 lintel over an opening, what do you think of that, brick?” Brick says: “I like an arch.”

Kahn’s response to the program he was given by a client was to change it. The program could never tell him the building’s essential nature. Nor could the Beaux-Arts prototype. Instead Kahn would start with the question: “What does this building want to be?” Kahn called the answer to this question, which would come through intuition by the processes described above, the “form.” The “form” was the essential nature of the building, from which he would work toward the “design.” Of designing a chapel Kahn said:

First you have a sanctuary, and the sanctuary is for those who want to kneel. Around the sanctuary is an ambulatory for those who are not sure but want to be near. Outside is a court for those who want to feel the presence of the chapel. And the court has a wall. Those who pass the wall can just wink at it.

The form could be stated verbally as above, or diagrammatically. Once it was known, meaningful design could begin.

Kahn’s approach is foreign to most Western thought, and his statements are often dismissed, at worst as self-indulgent metaphysics or at best as interesting but irrelevant poetry. But Kahn was not originally a facile designer, as his early work shows, and it was not until his philosophical ideas began to mature and become a part of his architecture that his work came to flower. Then he produced, one after another, some of the most important works of architecture in the 20th century. The importance of Kahn’s philosophy is confirmed not only in the success of his architecture, but also in its strong parallels to Heidegger, who represents one culmination in Western thought as well as the reestablishing of footings in pre-Socratic experience and a linking with the East.

Most architects throughout history have probably not started with an analysis of Being, because throughout history most architects were born into a culture which provided that analysis. But Kahn found himself in a period dominated by behaviorists and materialists, where there is little concern for the transformative experience in art,14 and where philosophy has been rendered sterile by the analysts. Kahn was forced to make the entire investigation himself, beginning, as he liked to say, with volume zero. For Kahn, architecture meant bringing an unmeasurable realization from silence into light, using the measurable (the material building) in such a way that others could have access back to the realization. Thus the purpose of architecture is not social reform. Rather it is the enrichment of the world by reestablishing its access back into its origins. This is of course a spiritual vision, and Kahn can be seen in a spiritual light. Although such an interpretation is not common, it is certainly justified by his writing, and also, I believe, by his buildings.

Kahn’s design for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California, 1959–65, is in some ways a repetition of the organization of his earlier Richards Research Building, in Philadelphia, 1957–64, with its separation of served and service spaces. However, the Salk Institute introduces new elements into Kahn’s work. Here the building not only responds to the stated requirements of the program, but also seeks to respond to the whole human being. Working from the outside in like a mandala, the building represents body, mind, society and spirit. The stair and toilet towers on the outside serve the body. The laboratory spaces where work is done serve the mind. The walkways and stairs providing entrance to the laboratories are places for people to meet and serve society. The tower studies, which allow the fellows to contemplate their work or the ocean in solitude, and the courtyard between the two halves of the building serve the spirit. The courtyard is a “sanctuary” open to the sky, a place for quiet, a place without any purpose but to place one in touch with Being.

The plans for the Salk Institute originally called for a Meeting House. Here Kahn repeated the court of the laboratory as a large central room which would have no stated function. It was meant to serve Kahn’s idea of Silence—that which does not yet exist—and to evoke activities beyond those which could be described in any program. In the Yale Center for British Art and Studies, New Haven, 1969–74, the silence of the central room of the Salk Meeting House was realized. Here it is a three-story skylit space which is good for hanging large paintings, but which actually has no programmatic justification. Rather it is a potential, designed to evoke activities which cannot be predicted.

If the courts of the Salk laboratories, the Salk Meeting House, and the Yale Center for British Art and Studies are Kahn’s expression in building of Silence, then his expression of material as Light that has spent itself is in the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth, Texas, 1966–72. Here he used a series of barrel vaults with skylights down their centers. The light is reflected off diffusers onto the vaults, making the exposed, poured-in-place concrete luminous.

Kahn’s designs are very much present in the real world. In some cases they represent the most advanced state of the art in precast and poured-in-place post-tensioned concrete, three-dimensional space frames, suspension systems, mechanical systems, and laboratory design. He was sensitive to appropriate technologies, using post-tensioned concrete in the United States, but bricks in capitally poor but labor-rich India and Pakistan. Yet despite this, and perhaps because of his search for eternal beginnings, there is a sense in which his buildings transcend place and time. Kahn overcame the lack of resolution of the 1960s by addressing eternal issues in Being. But there are perhaps limitations to such a stance. Ultimately, eternal human qualities are manifest contextually, and to supplement Kahn’s analysis of Being with an analysis of context we must turn to Venturi.

Robert Venturi is not interested in Being, but rather in meaning, which he generates in his architecture by the placement of his buildings in context. The human being is naturally a contextual animal, and any valid architecture must refer to personal, historical, and locational context. Venturi established the theoretical basis for contextualism in his first book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), in which he showed that the art of architecture lies in the subtle play between what is anticipated and what is perceived (hence “contradiction”). This approach implies that a new work too similar to that of the past does not carry us forward, while one too different does not register. Such processes can take place only in context.

Venturi’s approach is best illustrated in his early and seminal house for Mrs. Robert Venturi (his mother) in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, 1962–64 (by Venturi and Short). Here a personal context is established,by the relationship to our parents’ house as we first conceived it as children. Kahn had spoken of “the house as any child would draw it,” and indeed Venturi’s house has every element of that archetypal personal house, including a tree—which he symbolizes, as a child might, with a giant sunflower. It is also interesting to note that these same elements (sloped roof, chimney, window with panes, door) are precisely the elements eliminated by Le Corbusier in the Villa Savoie, 1929–31.

A historical context also comes into play in Venturi’s design. The house for his mother goes back to a whole cluster of roots of modern architecture: to the earliest work by Le Corbusier, which is seldom published; to Frank Lloyd Wright before he developed the Prairie Style; and especially to the American Shingle Style houses of New England—particularly the W. G. Low House in Bristol, R.I., 1887, by McKim, Mead and White. Thus Venturi related his mother’s house to the American tradition and to the mainstream of early modern architecture, as well as to one of the innovative periods in the history of houses.15

Moreover, locational context comes into play in Venturi’s acknowledgment of typical suburban houses with their sloped roofs, chimneys, etc., as they in fact exist in the neighborhood of his mother’s house. Venturi derives the images in his architecture from architecture (pitched roofs, chimneys, etc.) rather than from “basic design” (abstract textures, gray scales, etc.). While modern architects often make their buildings look like anything but buildings (houses, churches and hot dog stands as hyperbolic paraboloids) Venturi makes his buildings look like buildings.

Modern city planning, developing parallel to modern architecture, had also divorced itself from the realities of urban experience. Historic buildings were destroyed, small towns were ignored; the automobile was never realistically dealt with, visual vitality was replaced with sterile store fronts and the Helvetica Medium typeface in lettering; the street as a social institution was destroyed; and meanwhile zoning by use assured both the need for commuting and the desolateness of downtown areas at night. Venturi, Denise Scott Brown (a partner in the firm Venturi and Rauch) and their colleagues were among the first to take the automobile seriously in terms of its impact on urban scale and in light of the visual experience of the driver. They were also among the first to deal with graphics as a developed part of commercial enterprise with a long history; to deal with high-rise housing in terms of its impact on street scale: to deal with the American vernacular commercial landscape: or to analyze American houses from an “anthropological” point of view. In short, they were among the first to relate architecture to urban, suburban, and rural reality.

The more recent work of the firm of Venturi and Rauch extends the contextual approach beyond the single building to urban design. Learning from Las Vegas by Venturi, Scott Brown and Izenour (Cambridge, Mass., 1972) examined commercial strip development, particularly in Las Vegas, in terms of the impact of the automobile, the domination of signs and symbols over forms in space, lighting, the “duck” versus the decorated shed, and so on. In the exhibition “Signs of Life: Symbols in the American City,” at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 1976, the firm explored the pluralistic esthetic of the American city and its suburbs. Roadside signs and symbols were displayed as well as actual typical urban and suburban living rooms, presented as anthropological studies of tastes and preferences among different people rather than as material to be criticized from the point of view of “good design” in modern architecture.

The firm’s early urban concern is seen in the design for the Copley Square Competition, by Venturi and Rauch with Gerod Clark and Arthur Jones, of 1966. The competition was for the square in front of Boston’s Trinity Church. In one of the most sensitive examples of modern urban planning, they used a dense planting of trees both to keep the space open and to give it definition and solidity. The ground is covered with a grid of planters repeating in miniature the city’s street grid. It is at once repetitive and different, owing to the diagonals cutting through it.

The design for the National Football Hall of Fame Competition (1967, Venturi and Rauch with Gerod Clark) deals realistically with a series of programmatic requirements usually avoided in modern architecture. The first is how the building is perceived by drivers on the highway. Due to the distances and speeds involved, a mere building can no longer engage the scale of the highway, but billboards can. Here the design calls for an electronic billboard as the building facade, communicating to the highway the way the sculpture on the facade of a Gothic cathedral communicated to the plaza. Inside, the football memorabilia to be displayed was not of sufficient size or interest (Knute Rockne’s sweater) to inspire a volumetric architecture, so they turned to the projection of images. Thus while the facade becomes a billboard, the building becomes a large space for projected images. The role of architecture remains while its elements disappear.

Contextualism implies responding to existing buildings. In his first completed commission, the renovations of the James B. Duke House for the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1959, Venturi (with Cope and Lippincott, associated architects) displayed a respect for the original architecture (a 1912 copy of the Hôtel Labottière) that was unusual for the time. Venturi and Rauch’s most recent project, the Marlborough-Blenheim hotel/casino at Atlantic City, N. J., of 1977 (David Jacobson Jr., in association with Venturi and Rauch, for the client Reese Palley) shows this same respect. The project, now taken over by other architects, sought to preserve and integrate into the new design part of the historic Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel, designed in 1906 by the Philadelphia architect William Price.

Venturi and Rauch’s involvement with existing American commercial reality has brought criticism from established designers who ignore these issues and also from European Marxists, who see such involvement as a commitment to capitalist consumption. The criticisms of established architects are seldom sufficiently well thought out to respond to, but the criticisms of the European Marxists are more interesting. These criticisms find fault with Venturi and Rauch for studying the American vernacular without criticizing its capitalist determinants, yet the same critics now seek to appreciate and preserve the older parts of their cities without being embarrassed by their feudal origins. The Marxists’ other criticism is that Venturi and Rauch fail to propose a socialist architecture, although it is not clear what such an architecture might be or how it would be applicable in America today.

The different architectures of Kahn and of Venturi and Rauch, and their different views of human existence, need not be seen as conflicting. Rather they can be seen as complementing each other. Venturi and Rauch’s view is similar to the Marxist position which recognizes reality as identical with historical action. But some contemporary Western Marxists have found Marx’s analysis of alienation in terms of historical action inadequate and have turned to existentialism for a more adequate tool for dealing with the dynamics of consciousness, and with contemporary technology and everyday life. Mark Poster, in his book Existential Marxism in Post-War France (Princeton, 1975) describes some of these Marxists as combining Heidegger’s analysis of consciousness with Marx’s analysis of socio-economic dynamics to derive a humane socialism. Similarly, a combination of Kahn’s analysis of Being and Venturi and Rauch’s analysis of context might lead to a really humanly meaningful architecture.

The issue in architecture now is not function, construction or style (Vitruvius’ “commodity, firmness and delight”). Rather it is how function, construction and style can architecturally establish an appropriate place for humanity in nature. The future of architecture rests on the question: are we ahistorical, born apart from any significant spatial or temporal context, with the mind only a blank, unprogrammed computer? And are we then subject only to the laws of rational causality? Or are we historical creatures, born in a particular place and at a time that is somehow special in the evolutionary continuum, with structures of consciousness by which we participate in a complex process of reality that transcends space, time and causality? I believe the latter, and I believe that Kahn’s and Venturi and Rauch’s thought can together form: the basis for an architecture of Being-in-context, responsive to such an understanding of the human place in nature.

John Lobell is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute.

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NOTES

1. Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, New York, 1966, p. 23.

2. At times this article refers to the work of Robert Venturi, as in the case of the book Complexity and Contradiction. However, most of his building has been done in collaboration with various members of his firm, Venturi and Rauch. This is especially true of his partner and wife, Denise Scott Brown, with whom he has collaborated for 17 years. I have tried to credit the work and projects accurately in this article, in response to Venturi’s concern for proper crediting. Most of Kahn’s buildings referred to in this article also involved the efforts of others, but as Kahn’s firm has not insisted on complete crediting, it remains for future researchers to work out who was involved in what.

3. Brent Brolin uses the phrase in the title of his book, The Failure of Modern Architecture, New York, 1976. Brolin presents a fine analysis of rationalism and functionalism, and he has done original research on the inappropriateness of modern architecture in nonindustrial countries.

4. Charles Moore’s arguments are in Charles Moore, Gerald Allen and Donlyn Lyndon, The Place of Houses, New York, 1974. Also Charles Moore and Gerald Allen, Dimensions, New York, 1976. Jencks’ are in Charles Jencks, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, New York, 1977. Robert Stern, who has presented his view of post-modern architecture in lectures, is at work on a book on the subject. Stern claims to have originated the term “post-modern.”

5. See John Lobell, “Design and the Powerful Logics of the Mind’s Deep Structures,” DMG DRS Journal Design Research and Methods, IX/2(AprilJune 1975). Behaviorists and positivist approaches are dominant in academic America. Such alternatives as phenomenology, Marxism, critical analysis, and semiology are much stronger in France than here. However, there are many attacks on behaviorist and positivist approaches as they intrude into areas where they are clearly inadequate: see, for example, Susanne K. Langer, Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Vol. I, Baltimore. 1967; also, Arthur Koestler and J. R. Smythies, eds., Beyond Reductionalism: The Alpbach Symposium 1968, New York, 1970; also Theodor W. Adorno, et al., The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, New York, 1976.

6. In Romaldo Guirgola and Jaimini Mehta, Louis I. Kahn, Boulder, Colo., 1975, Van Doesburg and Van Elsteren are quoted as commenting on “De Stijl” Manifesto V of 1923: “We have to realize that art and life are no longer separate domains . . . we demand the construction of our environment according to creative laws derived from a fixed principle. These laws, inked with those of economics, mathematics, technology, hygiene, etc. lead to new plastic unity” (p. 218). Note that the distinction between art and life is not to disappear because life is to be transformed by art, but rather because art is to lose its transformative quality. The access of art, through the unconscious, to the order of nature is to be surrendered. For the first Bauhaus Exhibition, also in 1923, Oskar Schlemmer wrote: “Reason and Science, man’s greatest powers: are the regents, and the engineer is the sedate executor of unlimited possibilities. Mathematics, structure, and mechanization are the elements . . . based on the laws of nature, these are the achievements of mind in the conquest of nature” (also quoted in Louis I. Kahn, p. 217).

7. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed., Chicago, 1970. Cultural studies which point up the relativity of science include the work of Oswald Spengler and Marshall McLuhan.

8. See particularly M. Merleau-Ponly, Phenomenology of Perception, New York, 1962: also on the subject of changes in perception see Anton Ehrenzweig, The Psycho-Analysis of Artistic Vision and Hearing, New York, 1965. For the “new look” psychologists, see the work of Jerome Bruner.

9. An excellent presentation of the inherent limits of logic is found in J. Bronowski, The Identity of Man, rev. ed., Garden City, N.Y., 1971. See also Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman, Gödel’s Proof, New York, 1958.

10. The information on Kahn’s philosophy is gathered from several sources, including my seven years as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, where Kahn taught. Kahn spoke about his ideas but did not write them down, so they exist in published and unpublished transcripts of his talks. An excellent presentation of Kahn’s thought in the context of Western rationalism is Guirgola and Mehta’s Louis I. Kahn (see note 6, above), which presents Kahn’s thought as he articulated it, closely relating it to his architecture.

11. These and subsequent quotations of Kahn are from unpublished transcripts of talks. Kahn often repeated these statements, and they can be found in various sources.

12. Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, trans. Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, New York, 1972.

13. For his concept of Being, see Martin Heidegger, An Introduction to Metaphysics, New Haven, 1959. Essays by Heidegger in Poetry, Language and Thought, New York, 1975, are also relevant to Kahn’s thought. Kahn never relied on the exact word “Being,” but, as I have found his thought to be similar enough to Heidegger’s, I find the word useful in describing Kahn’s concepts.

14. For an analysis of the transformative experience in art see José A. Arguelles, The Transformative Vision, Berkeley, 1975.

15. A good analysis of historical context in Venturi and Rauch’s work is in Vincent Scully, The Shingle Style Today, New York, 1974.