Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats: Pathology of a Building

1. Louis Sullivan starts off by analyzing an ill-compounded salad of a building which is a typical example of the kind that mildew our land. He studies it as a scientist studies any pest, with a view to a remedy. He asks is it merely a youthful befuddlement, an inability of an untrained mind to grasp an opportunity, or an example of impotent misapplication of money when not impelled by carefully selected brains? He notes that American art is demoralized and the builder is not only mentally unhinged from his art, but also socially and economically out of joint with his times.

2. He says: The masculine implies, in mental terms, that which is virile, forceful, direct, clear and straightforward, that which grasps and retains in thought; the feminine: intuitive sympathy, tact, suavity and grace — qualities that soothe, elevate, ennoble and refine. But this droll and fantastical parody upon logic, this finical mass of difficulties, this web of contradictions, this repellent and indurated mass, this canker on the tongue of natural speech is a neuter. We are choking in miasm deeply saturated with the virus that is threatening our life and urging its decay.

3. He asks: Were we really born in sorrow? Was our infancy a bane? Is there no health in us? Or is there a vital and a saving grace, a force, a power that will regenerate? From this compost shall there grow and bloom a rose?

4. He exhorts his pupil to gird his loins and strengthen his stomatch, for to perceive health, he must look through and beyond disease. One must have the courage to see things just as they are or are not. In this way his thoughts will take on the clarity of perception natural to man, and he will have a correct start in his studies. For all depends on starting right, as the gunner said to the shell.

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One Response to Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats: Pathology of a Building

  1. Manisha says:

    Tom – this is an unrelated scejbut but I didn’t know where to post it. I was looking for an old post where people were discussing their favorite RSS reader – remember you had a poll and some posts about it in June/July timeframe? If I do a “search this blog” for rss – nothing shows up. I think that’s odd for something owned by google, unless of course I’m just doing something odd. I ended up browsing the archives. Looking forward to seeing you at CTOUG.

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