Louis I. Kahn

Kimbell Art Museum     Fort Worth   Texas


Osmosis and Electro-Magnetism: an Outside Inside Architecture
The Kimbell Art Museum; equalizing the outside and the inside with light.

1999.06.27 19:23
Regarding the definition of limbo architecture, I have no problem with you submitting the definition alone, however, if you want to do it jointly that is fine as well. today, I remembered that the inside-outside coexistence in some architectures also falls under what I consider osmotic architecture--the equal exchange of inside and outside, e.g., Pantheon, Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum, porch/stair hall of Schinkel's Altes Museum. In light of this, I think the inside/outside distinction of limbo architecture needs some further consideration. I like limbo architecture's notion of becoming, and I also think the notions of restraint and neglect should be added to the definition. Since I see osmotic architecture as the manifestation of something sacred, perhaps limbo architecture is the profane counterpart of osmotic architecture, or maybe (even better) limbo architecture exists within the thin realm between profane and sacred. osmotic architecture is 'uplifting' whereas limbo architecture is striving?

13100101.db     Pantheon, Altes Museum, Kimbell Art Museum, plans

German doors?
Seeking out the osmotic in architecture is a rewarding experience. ...the best gauge... ...see the Pantheon and Kimbell Art Gallery and the stair hall of the Altes Museum as osmotic at the high end, and an open bus stop at the low end. There's lots of in-between stuff out there, and, of course, it would be great if architects began to consciously create osmotic spaces.

architecture in cyberspace?
As to electromagnetic (radiation) architecture, i.e., architecture of light, the two best examples currently on this planet are the Pantheon in Rome and Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum.
Chronosomatics suggests that the foremost electromagnetic architecture coincides with osmotic architecture--the heart being the body's center of electromagnetism and the lungs, which surround the heart, are the body's largest concentration of osmosis.

an answer to "Now what?"
What architecture is extreme?
What architecture is fertile?
What architecture is pregnant?
What architecture is assimilating?
What architecture is metabolic?
What architecture is osmotic?
What architecture is electromagnetic?
What architecture manifests the highest frequencies?
What I've found so far is that some architectures fall straight into some of the categories above while some architectures are categorical hybrids. Here are some examples:
The Pyramids, Stonehenge, St. Peter's (Vatican), Bilbao(?)--extreme architectures.
The Pantheon, Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, entry sequence of Schinkel's Altes Museum, Kimball Art Gallery--examples of the best osmotic architecture there is.
Classical Greek and Roman Architecture--pure architecture of fertility.
The Hindu Temple--the ultimate transcendence from an architecture of fertility to an architecture of pregnancy, whereas the Gothic Cathedral is an architecture of pregnancy, albeit virginal.
All of 20th century Berlin--the metabolic (create and destroy and create and destroy and ...)
To understand architecture of assimilation, look at the Renaissance, but also look to early 20th century Purism to understand assimilation in the extreme, i.e., purge.
Today's architectures are by and large assimilating and/or metabolic (contextual and/or 'deconstructivist'?).
You're very lucky if you ever see pure examples of electromagnetic or highest frequency architectures today because they are almost entirely architectures of the far off future.
There are many more examples to offer, but that's all for now. In general, I see all architectures as reenactionary (as opposed to reactionary).
Architecture reenacts human imagination, and human imagination reenacts the way the human body is and operates. The human body and the design thereof is THE enactment. The human imagination then reenacts corporal morphology and physiology, and architecture then reenacts our reenacting imaginations.

Re: Theory dynamics; what theories?
...the Pantheon and the Kimbell Art Museum both as prime example of an architecture that reenacts the osmotic imagination, which is an imagination that reenacts the physiological process of osmosis, which is the equalizing diffusion of concentrations either side of a semipermeable membrane. Both the Pantheon and Kimbell are semipermeable (each in its own way) and both buildings work towards 'equalizing' the outside and the inside (again each in its own way). Furthermore, osmotic architecture seems to often capture a 'sacred' quality.

Chronosomaticly Deconstructing the Kimbell... ...an osmotic and electromagnetic analysis. What it facilitates is what makes it a facilitator. Light and the equalizing exchange thereof.

Re: Osmosis /Electromagnetism /(An)Architecture
The definition of osmosis you supplied is indeed the first definition of osmosis, but there are several others: a process of absorption, interaction, or diffusion suggestive of the flow of osmotic action: as an interaction or interchange (as of cultural groups of traits) by mutual penetration esp. through a separating medium : a usually effortless often unconscious absorption or assimilation (as of ideas or influences) by seemingly general permeation.
These subsequent definitions of osmosis relate rather well to architecture, as I've already mentioned, particularly to the architectural notions of transition from outside to inside and vice versa. I see the Pantheon and the Kimbell Art Museum as extremely fine examples of osmotic architecture. Furthermore, the Pantheon and the Kimbell are also extremely fine examples of electromagnetic architecture because they are both consummate examples of an architecture of light (i.e., electromagnetic radiation).
I am not here proposing that the above interpretations are the only correct interpretations of these buildings and the definitions under discussion, rather I'm making connections between corporal physiological processes and architectures that for the most part haven't been made before.

Somewhat Incompletely Louis I. Kahn
...architecture of osmosis / electromagnetism (Kimbell and Hurva)...

2003.11.17 12:14
Re: Is it the end of theory?
Although I'd surely like to see the Kimbell Art Museum in person, the longing to do so has been greatly diminished since I've seen the Trenton Bath House, where Kimbell can be see in its seminal state. I see both buildings as osmotic, architectures that brilliantly manifest an equilibrium of inside and outside, not at all different in this regard than the Pantheon/St. Mary of the Martyrs at Rome.

13101401.db     Pantheon, Trenton Jewish Community Center Bathhouse, Kimbell Art Museum, plans

2005.08.16 11:41
the agnostic design of spiritual space
Kimbell Art Museum is the prime example (although I myself have never been there). The common spaces of Erdman Hall also have a sacred quality. As to osmotic and electromagnetic, that's literal and figurative both, very much like the medium being the message.

2005.08.16 12:57
the agnostic design of spiritual space
...what is light but electromagnetic radiation? And osmosis is equalization either side of a semipermeable membrane. The architecture of Kimbell Art Museum is a semipermeable membrane that "equalizes" electromagnetic radiation.

2005.08.16 13:21
the agnostic design of spiritual space
I'm being much more basic by saying electromagnetism and osmosis. The key in the example of Kimbell is the 'equalization', and there also lies the key to Kimbell's 'sacredness'.

2007.10.15 21:23
Differentiation between the outside and the inside.
The Great Pyramid maintains a strict differentiation between outside and inside--life and light outside, darkness and death inside.
"The absolute rule of architecture is that the inside has to be different than the outside." 1983
Yet really great architecture manages to keep the rule and break the rule simultaneously.
The Pantheon at Rome brings the whole cosmology inside.
The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles reflects the whole garden inside.
The Kimbell Art Museum brings the outside light inside.
Osmotic Architecture.

2007.10.16 11:08
Differentiation between the outside and the inside.
"trying to mix the two gently"
1a. the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane.
1b. the diffusion of fluids through membranes or porous partitions.
2. a subtle or gradual absorption or mingling
[working title:]
The Semipermeable Membrane of Architecture
When I first visited the house in 1975 it was one of those places (in Philadelphia) that was rarely visited. There was a young 'hippie-ish' tour guide 'working' there then, and he admitted to spending most of his time there completely alone. He said he loved it though, especially on rainy days because that's when he opened up the entire wall of the house that faced the lake/pond in the garden, and that's when he sat in the middle of the main room's floor "taking it all in."

2008.12.31 09:38
pragmatists turning political?
The concluding 'Architecture' section of Aureli's "Toward the Archipelago" begins with:
"Let's immediately state that today's iconic building--the building that affirms its own singular presence through the appearance of its image, and that today constitutes one of the primary expressions of architectural culture at the scale of the city--cannot be a valid part of the city. Putting aside moral problems, issues of taste, and the gratuitous character of their forms, the iconic building cannot be considered an exemplary part of the city because its economic principle is to be unique and nonrepeatable."
This may well be what spurred Zaera-Polo's "The Politics of the Envelope".
[What works for me is...] Mixing Aureli's "The political ... indicates the possibility of conflict and as such calls for its resolution" and Zaera-Polo's "For architecture ... to convey that tendencies in the articulation of the building envelope capture the new political affects, to communicate that certain manipulations of the ground and the roof indicate the politicization of nature, or to explain the breakdown of the correlation between interior and exterior and private and public, are legitimate political performances."
Are ZP's categories of the envelope an attempt at repeatable icons?
brise-soleil: the politics of sun breaking
--Le Corbusier
--Kahn at Philadelphia Psychiatric
--Venturi at Frankfurt Arts & Crafts
houses under a common/detached roof
-- Plecnik
-- Le Corbusier
-- Krier at La Villette
osmotic architecture
-- Pantheon
--Versailles Hall of Mirrors
-- Altes Museum
-- Kimbell Art Museum
hyper envelopes of UN Studio
--Arnheim Central
--Architecture Faculty Venice
--Music Faculty Graz

2012.08.31 17:34
"The Objectification of the Deterritorialized Whole[nesses]"
Great Pyramid
extreme wholeness
Villa Savoye
assimilating wholeness
Medici Chapel
Neue Staatsgalerie
metabolic wholeness
Dominican Motherhouse
pregnant wholeness
Kimbell Art Museum
osmotic wholeness




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