While touring the Hollyhock House, there was a clear divide within the group of us gathered to walk through the notable Frank Lloyd Wright project. There were the architectural enthusiasts, like me and you, and then there were our friends and family tricked into spending a lovely afternoon walking around an old house. As we enthusiasts marveled at the concrete entry door or the unique window designs, our travel partners felt trapped behind the massive door and starred out the windows into sunny Barnsdall Park. The docent talked about the details of the entry and asked us why we thought the ceiling height varied as much as it did. “Earthquakes?” from the back of the group; a man in the front of the group with a backpack and fancy DSLR camera enthusiastically asked “is it because, as we moved through the low space into the high space, he wanted us to feel like we were being birthed into a new kind of space?” The docent’s eyes glazed over, but the man continued “I read in a book about the prairie style, that he had this vision of a new America and that each of his houses was a kind of rebirth for the owners.”
I know that terrible analogies are not unique to architecture, but architecture may be unique in creating so many terrible analogies; my favorite being “Architecture is music, frozen in time.” A close second is “Talking about (Love/Music/Whatever) is like dancing about architecture.” Today, I may have stumbled upon a video that is just that: dancing about architecture. Truthfully, I’m not sure what is happening in this video other than some very nice shots of the Salk Institute, some poetry and some dancing. What does it mean? I could guess, but I would have to come up with a new (and likely terrible) analogy. From the video’s description: “Continuity and acceleration are two mathematical concepts that relate the dancing body to space. This film unpacks the sensation of acceleration embedded in limits taken in the act of determining the continuous nature of movement.” So maybe it isn’t about architecture, just around architecture. Either way, the Salk Institute is a building I’d like to visit before I die. I just have to find someone to drag there.