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EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

THE NATURE OF ARCHITECTURE
Vilen Künnapu

NOERDLINGEN
Udo Kultermann

WHAT IS DANCE?
Eve Apro, Aharona Israel

HARRY PYE’s POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Harry Pye

THEATRE IS REALITY, FILM IS ILLUSION
Juhan Ulfsak

MY LIBRARY
Harry Charrington

FASHION AND LIFE
Reet Ragini Aus

ILLUMINATING THE SHADOW WITHOUT DAZZLING IT
Maxime Stoecker

INTERVIEW WITH URSULA LIBLIKAS

PAINTINGS BY GUY ALLOTT

TEAM

THE NATURE OF ARCHITECTURE

What was has always been,
what is has always been,
and what will be has always been.

Louis Kahn

Architecture is not of this world. The nature of architecture lies in the beyond. Today’s people are hopelessly blocked and have no access to other dimensions. Only a few with special sensitive powers, sages, monks and the so-called insane are able to reach behind the veil. I imagine things to be like this: similarly with people, the temples, stupas, mosques and pyramids which closely cooperate with the lines of force of the universe, posess higher consciousness. It means that such a building is like a reflection of an image on the other side. And the respective architectural images are significant parts of the construction of the universe. On planet Earth these are being built by priests-architects acting as mediums, and they have always existed. They are sages of acute intuition and connection to the Source. Accepting the project from a higher power, such an architect puts his vision on paper and places it in a correct location. Copied in a random place, these buildings will have no energy.

All three pyramids of Giza in Egypt posess huge energetic force, as do several temples by the Nile, e.g. Horus temple in Edfu, the Crocodile temple in Kom Ombo, Khnum temple in Esna, Philae Isis temple and the rock temple of Abu Simbel. Interestingly enough, the latter retained its strong energy even after being moved (the temple was raised a few dozen metres after establishing the Assuan dam – Editor.).

Chimney of the power plant in Kalamaja, Tallinn

The undersigned recently had the chance to experience the energy fields of these sacred places. At my travels in Italy last autumn I also perceived several objects with immense energy, of which I would like to mention the Roman Colosseum and Andrea Palladio’s Villa la Rotonda in Vinzensa that was created as a result of the ‘second emergence’ of the same image. Among the buildings with a strong energy field in Tallinn are St Olof’s Church, Alexander Nevski Cathedral and the chimney of the power plant in Kalamaja.

Talking about today’s architecture, we should first of all mention the works of Louis Kahn, such as the National Assembly (Dacca, Bangladesh), the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth (Texas, USA), library in Exter (New Hampshire, USA), Dr Salk’s Institute (San Diego, USA), Family Planning Centre (Kathmandu, Nepal), Institute of Management (Ahmedbad, India). Louis Kahn, who was born in 1901 in the town of Kuressaare in Saaremaa, is in fact the best example of the afore-mentioned priest-architect. In 1906 his family emigrated to the USA, and he took with him the sacred perception of atmosphere from Saaremaa and the image of the Kuressaare castle, which was embedded in his memory as the ‘nature of architecture’. Examining the main plans of Kahn’s buildings, they all seem like variations of the massive square image of the castle. In 1928, at the age of 27, Kahn visited his native town again and spent around a month there with relatives. His childhood memories of the archetypal castle and the metaphysical milieu of Kuressaare must have been greatly enhanced.

Minaret in Samarra

   

Plan of the Pantheon

In America Kahn worked out his own meta-language to describe his works. To a pragmatic Occidental, his chief message about architecture originating from the beyond probably remained a mystery. Despite that, his magic exerted an enormous impact on the essence of American architecture. He was, however, truly recognised in India and Bangladesh, where he was proclaimed a great spiritual guru and a yogi.
The works of the Mexican architect Luis Barragan and the Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov also reflect the frequency of ancient temples. Of the latter’s work, the most impressive is perhaps his own house with two crossing cylinders that the author describes as lightning in the middle of Moscow. Also the workers’ club named after Russakov in Moscow, a piece of architecture with exceptional dynamics. Luis Barragan’s best works include a private house in Los Cluba that has an absolutely timeless effect, and a chapel and a convent in Mexico City. Louis Kahn, Konstantin Melnikov and Luis Barragan were all deeply religious contemporary architects.
   

Plan of the Kuressaare castle, Estonia

According to the sage Epifanio Ramirez, a Mexican Native American, architecture has always been divided into the architecture of the priests and the architecture of the warriors. Inkas and Mayas taught architecture in two places: temple architecture at priests’ schools and everything else – including theatres, schools, houses and also music and poetry – was taught at military schools. The timeless buildings originating from the beyond therefore got an architect amongst the priests, whereas the rest was created by members of the military schools.

Today’s architecture uses the same architect in both poles, but this is a mistake. The designer of a church must be a devotee whose abilities have been tested – only then will his building come alive. The element of sanctity should naturally be used in other type of architecture as well, and not only in cult architecture.

A good example is a Native American tipi that as a superbly perfect construction can function both as a residential and prayer house. The already mentioned Palladio’s Villa la Rotonda or Kahn’s Assembly House in Dhaka are essentially places of worship. Or we could argue that in intellectually advanced societies all buildings are sacred.

The 20th century Occidental architecture is essentially materialistic, reflecting the nature of society based on physical profit. Despite a few talented objects, such architecture is destructive, rootless in regard to the planet Earth as well as of the entire universe. The few accomplished ensembles are like harbingers of a new architecture that relies on spirituality. Times, however, are changing, an increasing number of people have found or are finding some substance of higher power. The architecture of tomorrow will be harmonious and positive. In such a society architect is not a self-assertive superego, but a small bamboo pipe between the Source and the World, an anonymous creator-servant, something like medieval temple builders or Lemurian priests-architects. Architecture will be determined by sacred buildings (energy centres) supervised by the sages, and everything else will derive from them. Sacred buildings are like suns with celestial bodies rotating around them. Architecture has always been made along these lines. And this is how it will be in the future as well. This, in fact, is the very nature of architecture.

View of the Kuressaare castle, Estonia

Family Planning Centre. Kathmandu, Nepal

Vilen KünnapuVilen Künnapu

Vilen Künnapu is an architect and lecturer living in Tallinn. See also his text “A Happy Morning” in the first issue of Epifanio. See also: www.kassiopeia.ee, vilenkunnapu.pri.ee