Nietzsche on architects


The architect by shaping the existential space, modifies the environment in such a way that if gods existed, they would come every so often to consult with us on how we do it, assuming the gods are not omniscient. My lecturers told us so many times that the architect is the leader in the field, that one must have a solution to almost any problem to a point where ones this sinks in, one becomes so to speak on an equal footing with god.

The architect, unlike the physician cannot bury his mistakes. One can only hope for a natural disaster to erase his mistake or a government demolition project. Every architect tries to produce, what to him[her]self is a masterpiece, how many are successful in this endeavor is up to discussion.

The quote below by Nietzsche, can be applied to one of the great American architects, Louis Khan. I find his Exeter Library[ geometrical shapes], Dr. Salk Institute[ lighting], The Kimbell Art Museum[ for how he uses both natural and artificial light] and The Parliament in Dhaka[ space planning, geometry] to be truly beautiful. Having said that, I know appreciation of beauty[whatever that is] is very subjective but I encourage my friends to have a look at the above mentioned buildings.

The architect represents neither a Dionysian, nor an Apollonian state: here it is the great act of will, the will that moves mountains, the frenzy of the great will which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings have always inspired architects; the architect has always been under the spell of power. His buildings are supposed to render pride visible, the victory over gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of eloquence of power in forms – now persuading, even flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. The power which no longer needs any proof, which spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all opposition to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, a law among laws- that speaks of itself as a grand style.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

4 thoughts on “Nietzsche on architects

  1. violetwisp says:

    “One can only hope for a natural disaster to erase his mistake or a government demolition project.” Every time I walk past a terrible building now I’ll imagine the architect hanging her or his head in shame and wishing it would just sink into the ground …

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  2. emmylgant says:

    I really enjoyed looking at the buildings you mentioned above. They are beautiful… I think I am partial to the Exeter Library; I felt it to be more people friendly. As striking as the Salk Institute architecture is, I doesn’t feel like it is built for people. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

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    • makagutu says:

      I like the Parliament at Dhaka more. His choice of materials and how he deals with light was just way way above and his life was full of intrigues.
      Am glad you liked them 🙂

      Like

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