Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats: An Architect

To half close your eyes is to belittle the creative power of man. Touch not with feeble finger the exuberant pulse of human life. The architecture we seek shall be as a man active, alert, supple, strong, sane. A generative man. A man having five senses awake; eyes that fully see, ears that are attuned to every sound; a man living in his present, knowing and feeling the vibrancy of that ever-moving moment, with heart to draw it in and mind to put it out: the incessant, that portentous birth, that fertile moment which we call Today! As a man who knows his day, who loves his day, who knows and loves the exercise of life, whose feet are on the earth, whose brain is keyed to the ceaseless song of his kind: who sees the past with kindly eye, who sees the future in a kindling vision: as a man who wills to create: so shall our art be. For to live, is the manifest consummation of existence.

First of all an architect (or a man) must have a poetic imagination; second a broad sympathy, humane character, common sense and a thoroughly disciplined mind; third, a perfected technique; and, finally, an abundant and gracious art of expression.

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2 Responses to Louis Sullivan’s Kindergarten Chats: An Architect

  1. John, I too am very curious about the depth at which Ayn Rand delved into Louis Sullivan’s thought. “The essays on The Fountainhead” mention that she read biographies of Sullivan and Wright, and her Journals and The Fountainhead itself show her familiarity with Sullivan’s ideas and career trajectory. She has also said that she regards Sullivan’s title “Autobiography of an Idea” points to the right approach to writing an autobiography. It is more likely that she might have read that book, rather than Kindergarten Chats–a definitive answer may be sitting in the Ayn Rand Archives. In many ways it is a better introduction to Sullivan’s thought, because it simply shows exactly how Sullivan arrived at his idea.

  2. John Gillis says:

    A wonderful vision of mankind (of man). I wonder if Ayn Rand ever read this book.

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