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"The First Line on Paper is Less"

From Louis Kahn:

    A young architect came to ask a question. "I dream of spaces full of wonder. Spaces that rise and envelop flowingly without beginning, without end, of a jointless material white and gold. When I place the first line on paper to capture the dream, the dream becomes less."

    This is a good question. I once learned that a good question is greater than the most brilliant answer.

    This is a question of the unmeasurable and the measurable. Nature, physical nature, is measurable.  Feeling and dream has no measure, has no language, and everyone's dream is singular.

    Everything that is made however obeys the laws of nature. The man is always greater than his works because he can never fully express his aspirations. For to express oneself in music or architecture is by the measurable means of composition or design. The first line on paper is already a measure of what cannot be expressed fully. The first line on paper is less.

excerpt from "Voice of America - Louis I. Kahn. Recorded November 19, 1960" folder, Box LIK 53, Louis I. Kahn Collection, University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. 

And no matter how many times I draw that line, or no matter where it lives on paper - once translated to built form, that line really is less. It's less because it doesn't measure REALITY. It doesn't measure the size of the screw vs the size of the bit available and the capacity of the driver. It doesn't measure the imperceptible shift from one side of the trailer to the other of 1/16", and the gap that creates. It doesn't measure the fact that plywood is sold at 23/32" rather than 3/4", and 1x2's are sold at not 3/4" by 1 1/2" but .656" x 1.468". . And it doesn't measure my expectation that I will save 23/32" in height by putting in 10x the labor. Must recalibrate from thinking as Architect (tolerances to the 1/64") to thinking as Builder (tolerances...to the, yeah, ok, to the inch.)

It's progressing, but slowly. I haven't yet hit a stride.  Time off for planting flowers and vegetables and digging up jerusalem artichokes which are impressive space suckers! Time off for moving from DC to Annapolis to live next door to the tiny, and time off for preparing a place to move into. Time off for imitating Andy Warhol at a Stone Source party, where my friend and colleague Brooke introduced me to the Countertop Of Lillu's Dreams. These things complete (except for garden love, of course), time back to tiny.

 "Dad, do you think it's important if we put down a subfloor, or can we just skip that part?" jk.

"Dad, do you think it's important if we put down a subfloor, or can we just skip that part?" jk.