My Architect

Just caught one of the Oscar pictures this year for best documentary, My Architect. The film is about the life of Louis Kahn but told through his son’s eyes.

Several months ago there was a piece about the film on Sunday Morning which I saved on TiVo for my parents. Sunday Morning regularily has pieces on architecture which I in turn save for viewing the next time my parents visit me. The interesting thing I learned about watching the Louise Kahn piece with them was it was the first time I ever noticed complete mutual agreement on the brilliance of an architect. Curious, I looked over some of the buildings Kahn completed and for the first time learned who one of the influences on their style of architecture came from. Look at the Salk Institute compared to the Social Sciences building at Western. I always wondered where they got their ideas for the use of concrete. It’s interesting as you grow older how you uncover new insights into your parents that you never imagined.

Anyway, the film was excellent. It was less about Kahn’s architecture and more a story about the effects his personal life had on his family (including kids and lovers out of wedlock). What is it about the geniuses (especially artists) that end up screwing the people around them? The film mentioned Kahn working incredible hours with little regard to his family life. He loved them and knew he was screwing them by extramarital affairs, travel and never being around. But he couldn’t help himself. Perhaps that single mindedness is what differentiates geniuses for the rest of us? Or the part of their brain that makes them a genius is offset other parts of their brain that make them below average in aspects of life most of us take for granted.