DUNCAN HALL, Rice University, Houston, Texas

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I preface this analysis by thanking Stephen Fox for showing me around the Campus as well as the City of Houston. Mr. Fox has written the canonic history of their respective Architecture's. Much of my historical information concerning the Campus is drawn from his Monograph No. 29: "Architecture at Rice", published by the Faculty of Architecture in 1980.


It is, of course, hard to practice as an Architect in Houston. The City builds mightily. But it has no urbane infrastructure. It has no Metro, no suburban railways and really no inter-city railways. Its transport works exclusively by road and air. This means ribbons of concrete two hundred feet wide that rise ten storeys into the air, an airport the size of London and nothing capable of being reached on foot. Legs in Houston, city of computers, are things that go to sleep under keypads. In Houston I was asked, on TV, "you're an Architect, tell us what shape is cyberspace". In Houston this is not an academic question. Houston itself is a graphic phenomenon that appears on a glass screen (is it a CRT?) with a steering wheel attached and a sudden death bonus score if you leave the parabolic flightpaths.


Nor has Houston ever given itself a 'soft Socialist' Town Planning system of the sort which was 'hijacked' in 1970's Britain, by local residents, local politicians and sundry interest and pressure groups. These parties have all to be assuaged in the British land development system. It has been, without doubt, the single most effective support of the British Architectural profession through the late 20C years that has seen its ruin in large parts of the USA. It always surprises me that my professional colleagues understand this so little and are constantly asking to be released from the discipline of the public planning process. In Houston, unsupported by any politically-sanctioned injunction to erect buildings of more than minimal cost, the Architect of commercial buildings is denied even the most meagre of palettes. It is not surprising then, that Houston's Architects should resent the importation of Architects from Europe, a less lively culture in many respects, but one with a development process that allows (indeed requires) Architects to play a role and enforces a standard of building above the absolutely minimal.


Even so, and bearing all this in mind, faking up an Architecture by sawing shacks in half, screwing up a plan so nothing is where it ought to be, and then avoiding right angles as if they would release all the demons in Hell, is not going to help Houston gain any confidence in Urbanity. The only way to progress Houston is to 'enlarge' the powers of its Architecture, not make it more wimpy and wispy. JOA have shown the way in Duncan Hall. Our 32-Acre, £M500, project for Battersea Power Station takes city-planning further. The columns for a city like Houston have to get so big one can drive right through them in the manner of the General Sherman Redwood tree. The spaces in Houston are huge. Until they reduce, its Architecture must also become huge. Our Working Order is the only way of rendering such a gigantic Architecture both functional as well as humane. And what does it matter of what it is made?

As of end 1999 JOA have completed two projects in self-colour render. Brick is better, but the main thing is that our special stucco is spread onto cinderblock. So it is still heavy and solid. It is not 'Drive-It', which is the only material, in my materially-uncritical office, which I will not allow to be used. I will not build with Baudrillard's "vanished into air".

Houston's condition decrees that, in that city at least, one must have recourse to drastic technical devices. Compared to any European lifespace, or any other lifespace world-wide (and certainly compared to Rice Campus), Houston is already removed to another planet. One day we must hope the City Politicians and Voters decide to set their co-ordinates for Earth re-entry. But it's their City anyway and I love its Citizens as those of no other place.


Houstonians are really kind to Visitors because they know the only reason people visit Houston is to visit with them. Whereas what makes Parisians rude is the idea that Visitors only want to 'do the Monuments'. Parisians feel invisible and it makes them tetchy. It is said that Neapolitans steal everything. In fact all they want to do is talk. The beauty of Naples is that its citizens appreciate wit above all other qualites, and only lie to Tourists to find out how much they know about their City.

So, until Earth re-entry, only one Architectural strategy will serve Houston. This is Humane Giantism. Giantism is easy. Houston has it in plenty. What is missing is the 'humanitas'. This is where the inventions of JOA can help. For it is well -known (or should be) that with any Architecture related to 'Classicism' mere 'size' is unimportant. What matters is 'scale'. The bigger the building, the bigger its Architectural 'parts'. A column, with a base, a capital, and an entablature is always humane, even when it is 15'0" (5M) in diameter. and 150'0" high. This may not sound true, or even likely. But it is.


JOA also practice 'Metonymy', where the 'part stands for the whole'. We also, even in Little Old Britain, are over-run with automobiles. My policy when building a structure that is less than perfectly urbane is to design it as if it was either a remnant of a completely urban building, or an as-yet incomplete realisation of its final, urbane, state. JOA do this in a way that is not as literal as I have described, so that the effect of the work's 'incompletions' to bring into being the idea of its 'ideal' state of being.


This technique can not be used, however, unless the Medium being employed has, as part of its 'Cultural Load', a 'canonic' set of strategies, tactics and implements. One can, if one likes, call these its 'rules', like the rules of tennis. But I prefer to relate them to something Chomsky would call a 'deep structure'. Be that as it may, it can not be denied that subtlety of 'play', just as in any sport, can not be either effected, discerned by the aficionado, or enjoyed by the player and public alike, without these 'canonic moves'. Only a tyro, or an amateur, or a 'failed engineer' with a chip on his shoulder about Architecture (I refer of course to Reyner Banham as he referred to himself in 1958) would think that the canonic moves had to be adhered to as if they were rules that could not be broken! This is what one teaches the Student, not what one does in Practice! To the 'player' the rules are what allow him to show his brilliance.

Beyond that, and more to the point concerning the late 20C anti-city of monstrous spaces, only the concept of the urbane city mediated by a canonically conceived Architecture offers a technique by which the anti-city can be 'humanised' as a exercise of excess: grotesquely huge yet exhiliarating in its magnificent bigness. The one thing one can share with Koolhass is an enjoyment of bigness. But perhaps he does not 'monstrate' enough.

Many, perhaps even most, visitors might think that Rice Campus has no lessons for Houston, and regard the University as a little fragment of 'Old Europe' squirreled away to be kept as a special treat for a few years of University Education. My own position is that they would be wrong. Europe is not the whole of it. Architecture comes from the 'East' as well. But it is its destination that is more important, today. This can only be Universal, for it to be particular. Rice is far bigger, far older (even Mesopotamian) and has far more potential than to merely refer to the exhausted Architectural culture of "the West". For an idea of this consult my FAQ No. 8 "Why do you always make your buildings out of brick. Is it not very old-fashioned?"

It is for Houston to 'enlarge' to Rice, not Rice to 'shrink' to Houston. 


Opening Stephen Fox's Monograph on Rice we read his account of the making of its Campus Plan. The report is too compressed to publish more than extracts of the literary exchanges that passed between the two Architects, Edgar Odell Lovett, Rice's first President, and the Board of Trustees. But, to my eyes at least, the progress made, in only 21 weeks (including Christmas) between the first confused fumblings and the final Campus plan, speaks volumes for the capacities both of the participants and the medium of formal planning. For the result is as clear and complex an Architectural 'score' as the first attempts were (and were admitted to be) inadequate. One must remember, as well, that this whole 'design conversation' took place between Houston and Boston mainly by telegraph and post. For the railway journey between them took 55 hours.


The resulting plan, water-coloured on a piece of paper five feet long, begins its 'story' with a "tridentine "delta" radiating from Main Street and Sunset Boulevard on Entrance No. 1. Main Street, now one-wayed with parallel Fannin, formed one arm of the fork. The actual entrance drive was its central prong. And the right hand 'canal' was an avenue cleared through the pre-existing trees that enters a new building with little regard for its conceptual importance. It does however link to one of the longest arcade-passages, stringing several buildings together along its axis. All, in short, is by no means lost!.

Today one walks down these axes through a grove of dark and damply dripping, Live-Oak trees. It is all most literally-congruent with the 'field of reeds' that marked the transition from one state in life to the next.


Houston is built on the elevated floor of an ancient sea. It is only 50'0" above the Gulf of Mexico. The ground (as we discovered from our survey) has sunk some 9'0" in eighty years. One presumes this was due to the unregulated bore-hole pumping that continues to this day. Its soil, nicknamed 'the gumbo' after a thick Cajun soup, heaves so much when wet that unreinforced footpaths crack-up after a few years. All buildings, however small, must be piled for safety. All ground floor slabs are suspended above this unstable medium. It rained five inches one day as we were leaving for London. The water poured over the edges of the freeway bridges as if one was entering a car wash. All buildings on Campus are built some two feet above grade, and the campus roads are designed to carry flash floods to a local dry sump. I have seen them flow like unfordable rivers, when the rain was so hard that to go from an open taxi door, ten feet into a building, was to enter it completely soaked.

Images of water, the Flood, inundation and emergence, are all literally present under the great skies of tropical Texas, where the eye of a Hurricane 1000 miles away in Mexico can sweep its spiral clouds across one's head. To exercise the components of a formal architectural plan, that was somehow congruent with the flow of a great river, does not seem at all far fetched in such a place, only recovered from rice paddies and low-lying swamps less than 100 years ago.

Coming forward seventy years, we also find the figure of the Delta on both sides of Ricardo Bofill's Alice Pratt Brown's Music Building.The tridentine figure is "inverted" in Cram's plan of 1910. But this makes it no less persuasive, as we may accept if we have recourse to Levi-Strauss, who valued the parts of a narrative over their "correct" sequence. We may find the same "inversion" in the forecourt to the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati.


The original water-colour Master Plan, of July 1910, shows that the next formal episode was to have been a forecourt, in front of the first, and main, building. This would have embodied a nice distinction between 'portus' and 'porta'. Professor Joseph Rykwert (somewhere) describes an origin for the use of 'porta' to name the door. He says that when the Roman founded a city he ploughed the circuit of its walls. The plough cut a 'sacred' furrow which became immediately possessed of such an awesome taboo that anyone stepping over it would be placed into a special social status, in which it was legal for any citizen to kill them.

This rendered the 'wall' of the city effective from day one, before its physical fabric had been actually raised up. The city gate, or gates, were marked by lifting the plough and carrying it. The door (porta) to the city was formed by the lifting (portare) of the plough so that a piece of ground would be spared the 'tattoo of the taboo'. In point of fact door technology was invented some time soon after 7000 BC. Before that time, people visited by 'dropping-in' through a roof trap-door. One must imagine that, unless this walling-ritual was of equal antiquity, the door had prior call upon its name.

We turn, then, to the other proposed origin for the name for a door, which is 'portus' the name for harbour, such as the Harbour of Trajan. This was again an enclosed space, in this case walled-off from the sea.

The articulation of a formal 'harbour' is clearer in Cram's Plan than it is on the ground today. Cram shows an elaborated bi-axial forecourt, formed by three facades. The reality, as photographed in 1933, shows a gravelled forecourt housing a few, scattered, automobiles. Its equivalent, today, would, we know, be an asphalt desert packed with frying cars. The contemporary compromise is a sward of perfect St. Augustine grass - a remarkable herb that remains green through the sweltering summer (when even the grass goes brown in England) going brown only in winter. There has been talk of building a car park under this grassy plateau. This is a good idea, for its form (ramps, ventilators, and so on) could embody the idea of the 'portus' or 'harbour' while also keeping the cars cool and preserving a green and open forecourt to Lovett Hall. The 'intervention' (to use a tiresomely fashionable term) of car-park building would also serve to focus the mind of the Planner upon the ultimate fruit of all formal planning, the inscription of an idea, or ideas, into the spatial 'emptiness' created by formality.

The 'payoff', of Formality, is such an unfamiliar subject to current Architectural culture that, although this text is building up well towards it, I will leave it until I describe Duncan Hall itself. It is easier to describe how a thing becomes an idea by using practical examples.

It has to be said that it was enormously refreshing to me to be rid of the cloying 'fairytale' mysticism of Picturesque Planning and work in an ethos that understood that the best way to solve many problems was to make the 'solution' more 'difficult' than the problem it was called-on to solve. For it is in this way that 'problems' are brought to light that were always there, but remained 'invisible, because they were too vague and intractable - like what does it mean to build anything 'regular' at all - or why bother to be precise?


Leaving aside these arcane matters (so important to the disciplines of formal planning) we can focus on a more obvious congruence with Claude's valley-scenario: the Sally-port. Here the form of this item, its very name, and its use by the University, all declare that it is congruent with the ancient figure of the 'city-gate' first seen, as an Architectural icon devoid of military utility, in the 6th Century Syrian church of Tourmanin. This great arch is where the Freshmen gather to be formally admitted to the 'sacred upper valley' of the Campus, aptly named Academic Court. Here, also the Seniors take part in a huge ceremony, held under the tropical summer sky, that fills the whole Court with pageantry and colour, to receive their degrees and file out of the 'porta' to disperse into the 'Infinite Ocean' beyond the Portus and Delta.


The formal sequence in 'Claude's Key' encourages us to look for some evidence of a 'Balcony of Appearances'. We find such an inexplicably "romantic" structure, designed as a 'covered bridge', again and again in the "Classical" version of the Jardin Anglais. Instances are in Wilton House, Stowe, and in Prior Park near Bath, by the Wood Brothers. This, as we would expect, by its intellectual genealogy through Alexander Pope, descends directly from Claude Lorraine.

I thought little of this. After all, who needs to appear every morning, as the Mogul Emperors did, to show that the State, in their person, was still intact, having survived the Night free of assassins and poisoners. I knew, from Stephen Fox, that the Presidents suite, like that of Louis XIV in Versailles, or the Holy Roman Emperor's in the Westwerk of a Carolingian Cathedral, was directly above the Sally-port. I had seen, during the Royal opening of the Judge Institute of Management, how the Queen had stood on the first floor, directly above the main entrance below her as it rooted to the spot by an 'axis of power' that she was obliged to occupy.

Even so all this did not impress its significance upon me until last year when I learned from a Philosophy sophomore, working in my office for her summer work- experience, that not only had the rooms containing the Faculty of Philosophy been above those of the President, but the School of Divinity had been located, in its turn, above them.

Cram had located, presumably with the close co-operation of Lovett, who attended to every detail of the Foundation, God in the highest register, then Reason, and finally the Executive branch, the President. I was impressed, and sorry to hear that these Faculties had only recently moved to more convenient (but less grippingly symbolic) quarters. Stephen Fox reports that Lovett considered Architecture to be extremely important to his task of raising a seat of learning directly, in a short as time as possible, out of the slime of the bayou. It would be most interesting to know how much he understood of the subject, or learned as he went along, for Lovett Hall is a deeply erudite building.


'Upstream' of the 'Arched Bridge' (that is also the City Gate) my decipherment of Claude's Key locates a figure that I call the 'City of Fields'. Claude does not paint what one might call an 'arable zone' with particular enthusiasm. He is, after all, painting the inhabitants of Hellenic and Biblical Mythology some 2000 years after the event. So he places them as remotely as he can from the mundane lower reaches of the valley. We are amongst the crags and streams of the uplands when we stand to look out upon his fugitive Protagonists. Nevertheless I have always imagined that if one journeyed down his painted valley one would find fields and a settlement of sorts. And one knows that the layout of most settlements is little more than some structures built on old field boundaries. In short the mundane, unplanned, city is little more than a farm that grows rental dollars instead of wheat.


Another clue that I follow comes from the inverse figure of the Infinite Net of Streets figured by the interlocking serpents of Sumeria. This the 'City of Islands' which we derive from the decipherment of the City-Block as an 'isola', or island, as it is called in Latin and Italian. The City is an archipelago of Island blocks around which beats the surf of the ocean of speech (become today, unfortunately the roar of traffic)

The icon that I use for this element is the nine-fold square or twenty-seven element cube. The nine-fold square has centre, periphery, axes and diagonals. But all are present only in their bare essentials. It is also a sequence of eight triads. Four pass through the centre and four do not. This is the garden of Apollo, the field of Reason, sheltered by the Gate from the turmoil of the Delta, with its endless cycles of erasure and reinscription. This is the Temple of Solomon, as inscribed, for example, by a nine-fold compartmentation to provide the ground plan of Yale, as described to me by Professor Hersey.

This grid is coloured yellow, because of its solar quality. It is one of the places, along the fluvial rhetoric, that the path of the sun crosses the axis of the river. But, by virtue of it being a city of Islands, we must also understand it as a city of canals, such as were built by the Mesopotamians and the Pre-Columbians. For these were both cultures who placed all of their buildings up on heaps of soil, thrown out, originally, from irrigation ditches and transport canals. The Mayans, who are closer to us in time, graded the status of the mound-tenant to its height. The peons got the lowest heaps-only just above the flood-waters. The gods got ziggurats, with their heads lost in the diluvian mists.

The phenomenology of these canal-cultures has entered deeply into Architecture. They combine all of the basic components of the Architectural Scenario, the rhetoric used to install the 'drowned valley' of Glotze. They built rafts and they experienced the violence of floods that erased their fields and even wrecked their wandering 'Arks'. Then they rebuilt from the ruin. They raised up a new Order through which the 'Old River' still flowed from its source to the sea.

The nine-fold square of the City of Islands carries its fields high up on its beetling cliffs, safe from the diurnal flood of shadows that rises and falls with the solar circuit. It is both central mountain, and walled-in wild forest-orchard of Edinnu, enclosed not by man, but by God, to preserve Infinity within History.

These are aracana. All can be explained, given time. All are embodied in this figure of the 'City', so plainly explicit at Rice. For I noted, when some years into the project for Duncan Hall (one tends to focus on other, more mundane, things when creating a real project), that there was an uncanny resemblance between the garden layout of Academic Court, and the figures, that I had drawn back in the 1970's, of my 'City of Fields'. This is after all, the only part of the whole Campus laid out with this very formal parterre of low hedges. Moreover, its original planting plan was even more congruent with my 'figure'. This can be seen in Stephen Fox's Monograph, where he publishes an aerial photograph of Academic court, taken in 1933.

As I described, in the 'City Gate' paragraphs, Academic Court is physically in full, either social or 'mechanical', use only once a year. When it accommodates the Graduation Day ceremony, its symmetries and axes and compartments come into focus for the huge crowd and the routes of those taking part. For the rest of its existence Academic Court exists as a 'purely formal' entity. It is true that it is crossed on foot, and even serves to accommodate people who sit upon on its springy turf. But its rigorous formality is not necessary for either of these casual functions.


It would be churlish to criticise such a beautiful garden, especially as it is not easy to preserve its precision in a tropical climate. However its failings are not those of inadequacy but of its unearthly perfection. It is precisely the 'silence' installed by its symmetries that are the both the beauty and danger of formality. For in that silence people prick up their ears and listen to what is 'said'. Formality renders the attention both calmed, and at the same time more acute. It is like the tapping of the baton before the Conductors brings the orchestra to its feet. The 'problem' is, as it often is, invisible. Who expects any one to say anything in our informal age, when no one is sensitised to such things? Who, anyway, following Karl Kraus, expects anyone, in a Public Place, to either say anything clever or be clever enough to notice how clever it is?

Even accepting that it is desirable or rewarding to make some kind of 'statement' in Public, how is this to be done? It has to be said the usual method is to install a piece of 'Art' in the 'space' provided. One hesitates to call it sculpture for it is virtually guaranteed that, whatever it is, it will be both ugly, subliterate, and hugely costly. An example is the ruination of the Engineering Quad by the three vast slabs of raw granite, a perfect example of the stunning cretinism of 20C Art compared to Architecture. If all that these puerile chunks mean is that there are some angles, like 45 degrees and 90 degrees, in Engineering, well, words fail one!

I have already discussed, theoretically, in 'Duncanology' Part One, how an Architectural Order frames a field, indeed six fields for every cubic room. These constitute planes upon which a technique of some kind can inscribe the means to a 'vision' (rather than a mere 'view'). Cities are distinguished by what I call 'urbane' spaces. These are, in effect, 'interior' spaces. Urbane spaces are the 'rooms' of Cities. But these will be mostly larger than a space that is framed by an Order.

JOA have designed, buildings that are urbane, as well as of civic scale, that is to say enclosing an outdoor space, by virtue of their use of a Giant Order. Adolf Loos himself was working, late in his life, towards something of the kind with his, admittedly ridiculous, entry of an Inhabited Doric Column for the Chicago Tribune Skyscraper Competition. But for the most part, and especially in a garden, the Architect can not rely on a trabeated framework of columns and beams to 'frame' the fields upon which he can engineer anything of iconological sophistication.


Indeed the garden, being a literal antithesis to 'building' leaves the Architect with, really, only the floor plane as a place where any 'icon' could be inscribed. There are garden traditions, such as those of the Moguls, which made much of the ground plane, imprinting them with complex patterns of stone, water, plants and fountains. Interestingly, Bertram Goodhue, Cram's New York Partner, had built what he described as Persian Gardens. He had published on the subject, and they were planned for Rice. So it would not be at all out of character for a stone and water item to form some part of the Academic Court. Being 'buildable' they would then be able to be wrought into a design that could carry a symbolic load. With this and with items recessed into the hard surfaces of the pathways across and around the court, a canvas could begin to emerge into which ideas could be 'inscribed' or speaking technically, inlaid.

While we are discussing this, and still with the image of the Moguls, or Persians, in mind, it would be useful to complete this little exploration with the device of the garden pavilion, or shelter. While this is an item that may or may not be of great physical utility, it comes into its own as a device with which to install ideas. Whether placed centrally, or to one side, it consists of a floor as well as, and most fruitfully, a ceiling. Its main axis is vertical. It therefore constitutes an axis mundi, or central thread to a vertical narrative that can link the sky to the earth, two conditions most patently manifest in a Garden.


A pavilion in the centre of the Engineering Quad would give a pleasant refuge for study that was protected from the violence of Houston's elements, yet still be in the fresh air. One of the disadvantages of air conditioning is also one of its main attractions in Houston's moist climate. Air that has been dehumidified will not allow fungus to grow and rot one's clothes and shoes. But it also extracts, and so erases, all of the smells of the herbage which, in Houston, can include jasmine.

A pavilion is the most perfect of buildings, as vertically axial as a great column, yet fitted with a ceiling capable of adumbrating the cosmos. If surrounded, or at least symbolically founded, in water, it is also the primordial island, rising from chaos like new born Aphrodite. A pavilion can virtually 'say it all' - as we partly show in our Millennium Verandah for Wadhurst Park.

As to what could be 'said' in Academic Quad, that is another story, and one that could only be rehearsed in practice. For the Designer should always seek to be a Professional Orator who needs the Client to give him at least the outline of his script. This, alone, is one reason why I call this part of "design the "Engineering of the Conceptual Environment, or Iconic Engineering". How could one ever call it 'Fine Art' if the Artist accepted that he must ask what to do and knew, in advance, how to do it? His status would collapse to that of a mere 'Engineer'. No Gallery would ever show him again. However talented, such people can never form part of the ensemble-playing that is fundamental to the great works of civic technique.

It is not the fault of Architecture, but that of our own culture's unhappy reduction of the role of the Artist to the Fool at the Court of Consumerism. Contemporary Art, with its guaranteed repudiation of such qualities as the useful, the beautiful, the intelligible, and the valuable, is the flower grown out of our hatred for the dumbed-down illiterate world that we seem to have been forced to create by the movements of a History over which Man seems to have lost control. Those who succeed in these times seem to need to demonstrate that they can rise above its tawdriness and despise it, and their own success, by patronising objects that openly mock all of its worthy, Democratic, Utilitarian, Commercial, values. For what is uglier, more badly made, more physically ephemeral, and more dedicated to a dumbed-down, one-liner, silliness than current Fine Art?


Having said this, nothing is ever final. One sculpture that I love is that of Lichtenstein on the sea-front of Barcelona. I never thought of Lichtenstein, who is one of the few 20C Artists capable of a painting of Architectural dimensions, as a sculptor. But there it is: polychrome, elegant, ingenious, and, of course, mysterious.

Sculpture is always descended in some way from the Human image and the Graven image. The best Sculptures are always 'idols. Giorgio de Chirico gave good advice on placing sculptures in public places. He said never put them on pedestals and never place them in the dead centre of a space. His idea was that the 'Worthies' would then walk amongst us like ghosts. Camillo Sitte would have agreed with the first part of Chirico's injunction. Concerning Rice, however, I like the placing of the Founder's Statue. He was its generating agent. Let that idea be monumentalised. He can always be moved to one side if some more compelling idea arises to displace him. And if it does, perhaps he would have been the first to want to 'hand over the baton' to it.


'Upstream of the City of Islands, 'Claude's Key' invokes a component that we might call the 'Nave'. Its qualities, as a component of landscape, are that it is wooded, and backed by mountains. But its floor is level. the river, tumbling out of the uplands, widens and flows more lazily down towards the gated bridge and out through it, to the Ocean. The Nave is longer than it is wider. It is flanked by the forests of the nave columns and then, beyond them, ringed by mountains of buttressed stone containing the chapel-caves of hermit-saints.

This part of the Valley is repetitive and linear, consisting only of a succession of small, similar events, like the trunk of a tree. To extend the simile a tree-trunk has not much more to say for itself except that it connects the roots with the leaves. The roots draw water, and their dissolved nutrients from the soil, the leaves photosynthesize solar energy, assimilating carbon and freeing oxygen. Compared to the latter function, on which all life depends, the trunk of the tree is merely a useful prop ensuring that the tree can compete with others, and that its leaves can spread evenly through a greater volume of space and atmosphere. The trunk also lifts the leaves out of the reach of herbivores.

The trunk comes into its own, in nature, when the tree achieves maturity and the centre of the trunk decays. This is a process that increases (as any Engineer knows, but few woodmen) the structural strength of the tree. It also provides an environment for a surprising ecosystem of small organisms who begin to occupy the nooks and crannies of this muscular giant.

I like this analogy for the Nave. I contrast it with a common understanding of the Nave in its most extraordinary manifestation: the Gothic Cathedral, where it is said to function much like a plasma chamber in a cyclotron, accelerating the particulate individuals in the Congregation towards God. This 'phenomenological effect' is held to whoosh the eye, and presumably the body that is attached to it, by the simple-minded empathetic connections typical of the aniconic 20C, onwards and upwards to the Deity. If we can stand back and allow that our forebears might have been somewhat more sophisticated than ourselves, and look at the Cathedral as it first appeared in Northern Europe, just after the turn of the first Millennium, we will find that the Nave is not merely appended to the Crossing, High altar, Rood screen and Choir, but lies between two crossings and two 'foci'.

The Nave, like the trunk of the oak, both separates and joins two social entities that were more dominating, and more important than itself. In the East we have, as later, the institutionalised Clergy. But in the West we have the 'westwerke', to which we have already alluded, in the section on Claude's Key. The 'city gate' was the seat of the secular power, the nobility and court of the Emperor. They were enthroned at a higher level than the either the Clergy or the Ecclesia who both of them entered the Cathedral, literally, beneath their feet, symbolically abasing themselves to the power of the secular order. We see here, in the Cathedrals of the Carolingian period, whose religion, architecture, and political ideas were closely related to Byzantium, that the Cathedral housed the three estates of the realm: Nobility, Clergy and People in a form that clearly expressed the opposition of the Nobility and Clergy, housing the People in between.


We can further compare this, fruitfully with the progress of Byzantine Architecture up to its greatest expression under the Empress Theodora main Patron of Santa Sophia. Her policy was to universalise the theology of Christianity by opening its discourses to intellectuals invited from all over the Empire. This discourse was intended to 'include the people' by engaging them in the significance of the rites. The embodiment of this tendency was to enlarge the Architecture of the Temple so that what has in fact been achieved in Santa Sophia actually took place: namely a vast embrace of the complex labyrinth of society under a dome that embodied the totalising and cosmic vision of a monotheistic and theocratic order.

When compared to Santa Sophia, and the Byzantine ambitions and achievements in extending the idea of the Universal Empire and Church, the Parthenon is an image of an oppressively distant superstructure of 'superhuman' Deities who needed huge sacrifice and payment to placate and enrol in the ambitions of the Poleis. But it seems hard for the West to understand what Byzantium once was. It is even harder for the West to accept the guilt that it was the treacherous invasion of Constantinople by the 4th Crusade (diverted by the Venetians to destroy their Eastern rivals as the price of transporting the Western Knights to the Holy Land) that effectively destroyed the real heirs to the Roman Empire and the Classical world. The Western occupation destroyed the infallible 'auctoritas' of Byzantium as well as looting all of its moveable treasure, the other of the Empire's indispensable instruments of policy. This huge crime against Christianity by nominal Christians is never forgotten by the Eastern Church and the Greeks and Slavs that constitute it today.

The history of the West was to never unite the secular and the sacred. The history has been of a separation of powers that, whenever it approached unity, tended to subsume the sacred within the secular. The State became the Western 'cosmos'.

The 'Nave', in being that which distances the Secular from the Sacred, the Western end from the Eastern end, has had a history of first being dominated by one and then the other. Occasionally the People are included, occasionally they engulf one or the other power. I like the analogy of the hollow trunk the best. The central zone of the people is a refuge for a curious and secretive population of 'small businesses'. The 20C learned to appreciate these unpredictable micro-institutions. The central mass of the people were provided with a 'hollow tree' political economy in which these institutional organisms could lodge and develop without being too firmly dragooned into an order that emanated from either of the Western or Eastern 'ends.


The natural analogy for this varied micro-habitat is the 'valley-section' made famous by Patrick Geddes, one of the inventors of the concept of the 'City-Region'. The characteristic of its geography is its varied cross-section, stretching from mountain, through forest down to the river, with 'caves' along the way. But its longitudinal section is uniformly repetitive. The Nave of the People has variety but no unity above that of sameness. It is egalitarian, even anarchically so. The Nave is for the 'small people'.

In Rice the main difference, in the five foot long Official Plan of William Ward Watkin, between the nave and the 'Garden of Reason' of the 'City' is that the City was made with low hedges and the Nave with packed ranks of uniformly-spaced trees. This difference continued, and formed part of Louis Kahn's ill-fated, June 1970, design for a $M40 Arts Complex illustrated by Stephen Fox.

In my diagrams of Claude's Key, drawn decades before coming to Rice, I also drew 'forest trees' as emblematic of this 'Nave' zone.

The Naves of the Basilican churches of early Christianity as well as its later Gothic inventions all had flat floors. They embodied the idea of the valley in their roof-lines. These stepped-down from the high nave to lower aisles, sometimes in five corridors of space. They were flanked by 'hermits caves' in their buttressed, mountainous, casings.


The forest trees are planted in straight rows all over Rice Campus. In this they faithfully follow the idea of the original Campus Planners. They are right to do so. This is contrary to the received wisdom of the Jardin Anglais, which is that new plantings should always be faked-up to look 'old' and therefore 'Natural'. There is the profoundest of reasons for this. Only a profound reason could justify so 'unnatural' `(that is to say humane) disposition of living trees. I do not want to turn aside just yet to reveal what I believe this reason to be, as it will involve me in some arcane philosophy that is too valuable to be unduly abbreviated. I will explain it in "Duncanology Part Four: the Faculty-Building". Let me say, for this moment, that I believe that these peculiar massings of trees in the nave region are to be read as fragments of the Garden, or more properly Orchard, of Eden. It is the privilege of the Nave People, that is to say the mass of the ordinary people, to live in the innocent 'ignorance' of the Orchard of Edinnu, from which only knowledge will cast them out.

And what is it that faces them, in Rice, at the end of the Nave (which, it seems, can also extend beyond it) but the Library, the Temple of the Text, or 'Hagia Sophia' herself, spreading her all-enveloping (and slightly threatening) dome over the open sky of the Nave valley? What is it that could come between the City-Gate and the secular City-Garden of Reason, and the region of the Sacred Dance, the Ecstatic Circle of Dionysus, but the Dome of the Text?


Before answering this question, let us go to the far end of Claude's Key and work back towards its centre, the Library, that we have now reached. 'Centres' are always the most difficult part of any composition. No Architect of quality ever 'centralised' a composition during the late 20C. Centres were taboo in Art, and Philosophy, if more plentiful in its increasingly Professionalised, Bureaucratic Administration.


The 'source' to call it by the name proper to its role in 'Claude's Key', was always described in all of both Cram and Goodhue's plans, from the very beginning, as the 'Greek Theatre'. Its form never varied from a hemicycle of ramped, open-air, seating. Sometimes it floated free of any apparent connection to the remainder of the formal plan. but more usually it closed the end of its longest vista. In this it precisely reproduced the hemicyclical, apsidial, end of the earliest Christian Basilicas. Looking at the formal plan of Rice, from this end, and from the 'western front' of Lovett Hall, its resemblance to an open-air Cathedral can not be avoided.

So what exactly was this 'Greek Theatre'. Fox's account does not expand. It would be interesting to know it the early correspondence elaborates on the notional building. One may imagine that the plays in Attic Greek could be enacted in it. But it lies very remote from the other buildings. There is also an intellectual distance between Ancient Greek plays and the original brief for Rice Polytechnic Institute, which, though always aspiring towards becoming an University, was weighted towards Science and Technology.


My inclination is to 'read' this element of the original formal plan as extremely important, for it remains rooted to its place while the whole plan went through the 21 weeks of its birthing convulsions. But it is to be taken more as a sign, a symbol, rather than a blueprint for a structure whose physical and social role was known.

What we can say with certainty is that when deciphered with the 'key' provided by my interpretation of Claude, it serves, conceptually, as the 'cave' from which the 'river of space' sources. We can understand it as a 'nyphaeum', a watery source or spring, such as that which closes the axis of the Villa Giulia, and countless other villa, and villa-garden narratives built during the Renaissance.

I come now to a decipherment that some of the more tender-minded of my readers may find 'outrageous'. It is that the Stadium of Rice is the heir to this 'nymphaeum' building.

Firstly it in the same place, at the end of the main axial narrative. Secondly it is cyclical and made of ramped seating, like a Greek theatre. Thirdly, what was the Greek 'school' called if it was not 'Gymnasion'. The Ancient Greeks were known for many things but the thing that set them decisively apart from the Egyptians, Phoenicians and Persians was their peculiar habit of taking off all of their clothes, smearing their bodies with animal fat and ashes (the earliest soap), and engaging in improving exercises like jumping up and kicking themselves in the bottom with their heels. The other, more 'oriental' cultures found these Greek habits both unseemly and comic. How could one take such people seriously?

I suppose Alexander taught them to respect this Hellenic 'irreverence'.

The location of the Football Stadium in the Site Plan, and its Architectural form are both congruent with the form drawn on the original plans. The rites performed in it, American Football, is not Ancient Greek (so far as I know). But I do not think that this matters at all. What matters is that the ancient culture of formal planning has been followed by the Board of Governors of Rice.


The giant open mouth of the Stadium, which is half buried into the ground, for economy, is like a volcano that has spewed-out a lava field of asphalt. It gets as hot as lava under the tropical summer sun and gives off a wonderfully sulphurous aroma as the pools of rainwater quickly boil away after a summer storm. Inside its pit young men battle out a ritual of complex combinations and brutal charges. Who knows whether ash-pit wrestling or kicking one's bottom led directly to the tragedies of Aesychlus (more likely to the comedies of Aristophanes). But can one say that the splendid rites of the Football Game with its drum majorettes and marching bands (ironically mocked at Rice by the Owls (of Athene) who go where no band has gone before) are any the less useful to the normal ambitions of an University.

What we do know is that, being overlaid and underpinned by the ancient culture of formal planning, the Football Game becomes invested with the whole of the cultural baggage carried in the long historical train of this great form. The 'Alexanders' of the future are being trained to, as the Americans say, 'kick ass'.


Returning to the scene of 'Claude's key', and to its Architectural analogies in history, we find that we are looking out from the 'source' of the 'river of space, across the typically dark foreground that assists the impression of vast depth and distance in Claude's 'view'. In this foreground there tend to be a rustic bridge, fording the river that is still but a tumbling stream. It is populated by herdsmen, lonely pastoralists with their goats, the nearest in spirit to the poets and to the Dionysian 'goat drama'.

The first brightly-illuminated space 'downstream' of the dark foreground is, in most cases, the 'stage' upon which Claude shows his Protagonists, small and aetiolated, as we discussed when we examined his paintings. in I called this the 'Confluence' in my 'unlocking' of his paintings and equated it to the 'crossing' under the Western dome, the locus of the Clergy as opposed to either the Laity in the Nave or the Nobility in the Westwork.

The Texts from which Claude draws his mythological mise en scene are either the Old Testament or the Hellenic Mythoi. Both, in the increasing cynicism of the 17C, that finally led to the Enlightenment, have to work hard to earn a measure of what we call today, 'being real'. Claude places them, because of their increasing ontological fragility, far up in the recesses of his mountains. He has them making war, admiring themselves, escaping from bondage, pining for their beloved, or just innocently dancing. I take this as my cue to characterise this element of the axial narrative of the 'Republic of the Valley'. This 'sacred' pole is invested with the principle of ecstasy. In the West this is traditionally mediated by Dionysus.

In Rice this place in the sequence of formal site planning 'event horizons' is congruent with the Alice Pratt Brown School of Music designed by Ricardo Bofill. Again this is an uncannily appropriate embodiment of the prefigurement laid down by Cram. Music is Apollonian as well, and could be equally at home in the Fields of Reason (or anywhere in fact), as Music is a universal medium capable of any intellectual embodiment. But, even so, on the premise that Dionysus is a dancer, and that Dance, as well, is part of the Music centre. It strains no facts to find that the Pratt Brown Institution fills out a critical event-horizon of 'Claude's Key' to the Campus.


So now we are back at the Library. We have come down to it from the craggy, dark uplands and view it, in fact in Rice, 'from the rear.' The 'river of space', that we will later argue is an embodiment of 'somatic time' or the undivided time of living (body-time), is blocked by the Library. The huge, windowless brick wall that encloses the new book-stacks, lies like a four storey dam across the proper route of the river of space that unites the Academic Valley-Community of Rice.

Some are born great. Others have greatness thrust upon them. The Campus Library, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. It is, architecturally, a failure. Yet it is he centre of the entire Campus.


Unfortunately, as Stephen Fox reports, the Library was built after the concurrent demise of three of the seven man Rice Board and the retirement of three others, all between 1941 and '46. Ralph Adams Cram also died. William Ward Watkins, his assistant from 50 years earlier, architect of three excellent Campus structures, and serving Dean of the Faculty of Architecture was passed over. The appreciation of Cram's Architecture had reached its lowest ebb and it was mocked by such White Architecture advocates as Henry Russell Hitchcock, co-author with Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson of the MOMA white cement architecture exhibition that destroyed Art Deco as well as the craft industries that served it. 

The design of the Library, the centrepiece of the entire campus was given to a Rice alumnus, John Staub of the Houston Firm of Staub and Rather, one of Houston's most reputable and prolific early 20C Architects. It is an unhappy compromise. One can see the elderly Architect trying to 'move with the times' and seeking to "break free" of what Stephen Fox calls "Cram's recondite 'tour de force'". Staub, who would have been at home with the Hispano-Moresque Cram Collegiate style, fails to overcome his own sympathies. He created a neutered version of the Rice House Style.

Worse than that is the fact that he unfocusses his composition in order to achieve a very gratuitous asymmetry that fails to communicate anything more than a limp acquiescence to an unwelcome stylistic imperative. Staub appears as a passive spectator to his own undoing. Far from Cram being "Byzantinoid" as the slavish Hitchcock accuses, it is Staub's feeble rebellion against formality that has gave birth to the Campus "droid".

It is one thing, however, to agree that the Library is a failure. It is another to propose a solution.


For this I must repair to consider what its place is in the event-horizons of the 'promenade fluviale'. Here we come up against the fact that as we approached it up from the Delta, the Library lay at the end of, or in the middle of, the Nave. If we walk down to it from the Source, we come upon the Library after the 'Confluence'. Again it seems to lie in the centre of the Nave, for there are rows of forest trees between it and the 'Nymphaeum' as drawn on the William Ward Watkin Plan. Yet nowhere in my analysis of Claude have I ever represented such a large building on my 'decipherments'. There has never been anything between the 'City of Fields', and the 'Confluence', or 'Crossing', except the 'Nave', that is to say the lazily snaking River lying in the bottom of the Valley.

The solution to this puzzle can, I suggest, be found in the peculiar 'ruin', found in every Claude landscape, that I described as the 'Displaced Crossing'. I interpret these 'bricked up' up Tholoi as the answer to my search for the dome and crossing that one finds in a Cathedral or Basilica. I concluded that Claude was proposing that Architecture, in the shape of what I called the 'Ark' of the Christian Basilica, had carried the 'sacro-idyllic' Classical landscape across the 'Dark Ages' to land it in the Scientific, Modern, Ethos of the Renaissance. The Ark, represented by the walled up ruin, with its vertical, transcendental spatial axis, had been wrecked when it came down to Earth (as real Arks tend to be). But its cargo, surviving, as is the ambition of Arks, flourished under the new dispensation, making of the whole of Nature (or at least its drowned, crypto-poleis, valleys) a 'Christian' Cathedral.

The dome of the blue sky and the liturgy of this amalgam of biblical and Hellenic mythology was the 'Antiqued' cloak that the Rational State of Alberti and Machiavelli threw over its New Body. This was a body no longer wasted by holy fasting, but nourished on Taxation, Trade, a Professionalised Politics and all of the Arts and Manufactures capable of human invention. Claude's vision of a 'State of Nature' cloaked an engine room, buried below its charming antiquity, that would, one day, burst upwards, like a surfacing submarine, churning and throbbing like the mining moles in the film of H.G.Wells vision of the Future. Below Claude lie the seeds of the 'Industrial City' that would one day erase his 'view', perhaps for ever, or not, as only the Future will recount.


The 19C, in response to the destructiveness of the French Revolution, built "superstructures". Beginning, at least in Europe, with the re-imposition of Monarchy, the 19C State elaborated, as best it could, a vast edifice that was, almost directly, embodied in a series of enormous Architectural projects. these extended, in the case of France again, the formal planning of whole cities. Even the British, who have almost no formally planned cities in their island, carried out, in New Delhi, a planned lifespace that I am sure feels entirely alien to their living descendants in the 'picturesque' chaos that are the British Isles today.


The Architects of the 19C, serving, as Professionals must, the projects of the time in which they work, developed as a type of exercise, the formal planning method now termed (usually pejoratively), 'Beaux Arts'. This had no specific use, apart from its ability to carry painting, sculpture and all of the iconographical aids to the 'cultural superstructure' whose task it was to impose upon society at large. This strikes the 20C as oppressive and dictatorial. Yet it is what Architecture, as a Medium, has always been used for.


The Architects of the 20C discarded the formality of this technique and substituted the 20C strategy, which was to allow the 'Function' to dictate the form. The 20C is the reverse of the 19C. Where the 19C tried to form society from above, the 20C attempted to allow Society to find its best and true form by allowing the forces of Revolution, Universal Suffrage and the Mass Market, to 'boil-up' from below, before, hopefully (?), cooling into their 'proper' (and 'natural' form).

We at the beginning of the 21C, can draw a line under both of these strategies, and find them both wanting. The question is, however, what now? (For an idea about this, see my FAQ No -- "Going Sideways".



As one might expect, the Monarchical principle was embodied in the Monumentalisation of the Palace. Some cultures were very clear about this. One that I happen to know, Greece, was dramatically positive concerning the political role of the Monarchy. A Danish Monarch was imposed on the putative home of democracy and a nice neo-Classical barrack of a Palace built along one side of the new city square. Fortunately, this solution to the perceived ills of Revolution was not pursued by the USA.


But in much of Europe, the Monarchical solution was seen as archaic. It was characterised as the 'Ancien Regime'. Not all countries subscribed to this 19C version of Republicanism, especially Britain. Those that did tended to build enormous Law Courts. There are few buildings as magnificently tasteless as the Law Courts of Belgium and Rome. The Roman Courts, which were built almost a half century after the Crystal Palace and well after the skyscrapers had passed 200 feet in Chicago, is so heavy with hewn rock that it was only recently rescued (at vast cost) from slowly slipping into the Tiber. One can almost feel that peculiar amalgam of princes and parvenus that was late 19C Hapsburg Europe fortifying itself inside these amazing, and slightly terrifying carapaces, of apotropaic masks, columns and entablatures heavy with weapons, wings, skulls and every emblem of authority and superstition.

It all fell to pieces after the slaughter in the trenches.


Another 'Monument' that the turn of the Century raised to try to find a way between Revolution and the Autocracy, was the Library. The temple of secular wisdom (we will come to the 19C Cathedral later) was built as the centrepiece to the Campus Plans of Universities. These were Libraries of Record. They would contain every book published, and journals also. The embodied the idea that Reason and Science could be inscribed, published and made accessible to all. This could be an aspect of the New Dispensation, a fixed point anchoring the transcendent to the immanent from which could flow Reason and Order to the four points of the compass. These libraries were designed, and the one's designed by Cram and Goodhue for Rice perfectly exemplified the ancient figure of the "Mountain from which the Four Ways (or rivers) flowed". The dome on Rice's 'Rock of Text' positively glows with the 'hidden light' that is 'in the rock'. Cram's plan of covering it with glazed tiles would have had it shining like a naked cerebellum, transparent to the nervous discharges of the brain, yet translated into an iconically legible text. It would have disproved the famous complaint of T.S.Eliot ("...the pattern of nerves upon a screen"). One cannot imagine a more perfect dome. It would have left the lead-clad lumps of the Renaissance far behind. It is a tragedy that it was not built.

Perhaps it is never too late.


There is a 'conflict' (let us not obscure the truth in a work of Philsophy) between the idea of the Library as a 'rocky focus' and the campus as a 'Nave' of space flowing from 'source to sea'. I can sense that, in the 19C, far from the centres of Western culture, building a Library as a redoubt felt right. But today, when books have been multiplying faster than ever, and the USA has become if not an imperial centre, like Britain in the 19C, but at least the power-centre of the globe, and, just recently, English text flows like quicksilver through cyberspace, building a 'book warehouse' in the centre of the Navis (the ship) begins to feel like carrying not so much the Bullion Bars of Wisdom but the Ballast of a medium past its sell-by date.

One must not be panicked by the Web culture, even though all of this 'Duncanology' sees the light of day on its electron beams. Everything I have learned, such as it is, has been learned from books, and mostly old one's bought in second-hand shops. I am what the French call, with a mixture of envy and disdain, an English Autodidact. So I would be the last person to displace books from the centre of intellectual life.

Myself, I like the atmosphere of the small second hand shop, and the big emporium as well, with its coffee shop where one can read a chapter of a paperback before buying it. But students can afford neither. Nor have they the time to drift through subjects they will not be 'tested' on. All that must wait, until when? One wonders.


The truth is that the Web will not displace the 'Mountain of Books'. As in Museum design, the two will complement each other. As with Museums, it will no longer be necessary to design them like Theme Parks in order to attract illiterates. The young (including the Young Working Class whose Parents knew that books would get them into trouble) come to Museums knowing almost as much as the Curator (whose animated Web page they have been reading). What the Museum visitor, and the Library visitor, want to do is to lay their eyes (and even their hands) on the real thing. This especially includes the handwritten margin note that 'proves' the real intention of the writer.


Some may continue to think it a problem that the 'Crossing, when it is a library, is not an 'open' building. Books, through open to all to read, are precious and must be secured. Librarians put locks on fire escapes and locks on windows. It has been known for books to be thrown from windows and caught below. A Library, especially one containing the original documents that scholars prefer to view, really is a fortress. The light of learning may blaze, shine and flow from this rock, but it is in no way a plaza.


The 19C city was so full of monumental building types, railway stations, opera houses, department stores, and so on, that one only has to 'drive fast forward' to the end of the 20C to be conscious of the urbanistic and architectural disaster that the last 50 years has wrought. Who needed the hydrogen bomb when the ethic of these last few years was doing its demolition work?

Another great monument of the 19C political and social strategy, entirely neglected today, was the Cathedral. Religion, also, was reconstructed after its comprehensive abolition by the Terror. Anthony Vidler claims that the Modern Museum began, after the Terror, with a collection of blackened relics taken from the ashes of burnt churches. Time had become linear. The cycle of the endless return had been broken. Progress had been instituted. So the things that would never be made again had to be preserved.

I have already described, in the section on the 'Nave' how Santa Sophia is, for me, the ultimate Cathedral Architecture. The basic problem for Western Religious Architecture has always been how to engage the Cosmos with the Earth. The Cosmos, Architecturally, is always spherical, the Earth, cubic. Virtually all cultures agree on that iconography. The Cathedral of the Empress Theodora manages to obtain the lightest dome imaginable, floating over a still very complex and ultimately rectangular footprint. It precisely embodies the sense of Greek Orthodoxy that everyone remains wilfully free as well as natively various under the canopy of the Kosmos of the Pantokrator.


Apart from this, where we are veering dangerously close to 'religion', one has to admit that the Cathedral is, in a narrowly Architectural sense, the only 'building type' that can perform the function of occupying the 'place of crossing' as an open sort of place free to all to come and go. Presumably this is why it is in 19C Italy, as one might expect of a culture so dependent on Architecture, that one finds the best 'Civic Cathedrals': the Gallerias of such as Milan and Naples.

The Galleria is the best way to Monumentalise the 'body' of a secular, modern, City, or, more likely, a Neighbourhood. This was proved by the success of the preserved Covent Garden in London, a city replete with shops but devoid of either Gallerias or Plazas.


If it were possible to divide a Library-complex into four, it could be split around a central 'Galleria'. The four parts could be linked by securely-enclosed glass bridges across the arms of the Galleria. Scholars could sit at windows overlooking this internal space and still enjoy daylight from the Galleria roof. In a tropical climate like Houston's, there is plenty of natural light. In this way the vital flow of the Campus' 'river of space', could continue through a lively social centre of the whole University, a place to 'hang out', drink coffee, hit on the Web and buy books, even second hand books. Events of various kinds could take place in it, while being entirely sealed-off from the Library that surrounded them. There are hundreds of secure commercial buildings, world-wide, with this sort of Architectural Organisation. It would of course, increase the cost of the Library. But its effect on the whole University, through its Campus lifespace, would be almost incalculably good.

The project for the enlargement and amelioration of the Rice Library is shortly to be begun, and one can only wish the University the best of fortune with this supremely difficult task. It is 'soluble'.


This brings me to the end of my decipherment of the Campus of Rice University. I will not claim that anything of this sort was in the minds of its Founders and their Architects during the last 100 years. But one thing must be clear. It is that 'something' is embodied in what I call 'formal planning', that has guided the decisions of so many different minds and personalities for so long - and all without an 'official text'. My desire to understand what this 'something' could be was, ironically, engendered by seeing it being destroyed in the disurbanising North American holocaust of the 1950's. It gives me an extra special satisfaction to have been invited back to the scene of what one might call my 'Architectural awakening', to both build and decipher a medium that used to be very much a part of American (and indeed global) architectural culture. It is one that, I am sure, can continue to be so in the 21C, in an enlarged and dynamic form.


We can now, finally, with the indulgence of my Readers, walk over to Duncan Hall, where I will attempt to justify my unreasonable optimism concerning what most people still continue to call, even at the end of the 20C: 'Architecture'! As we saunter over under the hypostyle of live oak trees that cast their dappled shadows and keep us cool from the tropical sun, I will warn you, one and all, that what you have read concerning "Claude's Key", and "Cram's Campus", is just the 'Ground Plan' of something far more ambitous. Architecture is more, even, than Site Planning. It is more, even, than the creation of a beautiful great Garden-Park. Even when it is like that of Rice Campus, one of the choicest pieces of urban greenery, as I once heard in my kitchen, here in Paddington, (over the BBC), in the whole of the USA!







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* JOA can be reached by E-Mail at anthony@johnoutram.com , by telephone on +44 (0)207 262 4862 or by fax on +44 (0)207 706 3804. We also have an ISDN number : +44 (0)207 262 6294.