My Architect: A Son's Journey

Synopsis:
Year:
2003
79 Views


at Yale University.

My father was only 5'6"

but he cast a long shadow in New Haven.

He built his first and

last major buildings here:

the Yale Art Gallery in 1953;

and right across the street,

the British Art Center,

finished after his death.

I used to wander around in

those buildings on weekends.

They were silent and mysterious,

and I half expected Lou to just appear

from around the next corner.

There were rows of books

about his work in the library.

He hadn't built very many buildings,

but apparently they had changed

the course of architecture:

the Salk Institute,

the Kimbell Art Museum,

the Exeter Library,

the Capital of Bangladesh.

My art history

professor, Vincent Scully,

had been a friend of Lou's,

but he always talked about him

like some long-dead ancient hero.

It was unsettling.

From the very beginning he was after

symmetry, order, geometric clarity,

primitive power,

enormous weight...

as much as he could get,

like this great monster that stands

in the middle of this space.

You know as I said too, I think, before:

enduring monuments.

He wants his materials to kind of last,

which is a permanent work in the world.

That's what he's after.

You know, it was such a wonderful thing

to be close to somebody

who really was changing everything.

You said at one point that

he wanted to make everything right.

- He wanted to make it perfect.

- Perfect.

You know, in Jewish mysticism,

which I know almost

nothing about, but...

God can only be known

through His works, right?

And since the messiah

hasn't come yet, hmm,

the works of any Jewish architect

might be the works of God.

And you take those pictures of Louie

when he's looking into the light

and when he's enjoying

silence like this,

it's... it makes

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