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Title: Architecture and Democracy
Author: Bragdon, Claude Fayette, 1866-1946
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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This book can lay no claim to unity of theme, since its subjects range
from skyscrapers to symbols and soul states; but the author claims for
it nevertheless a unity of point of view, and one (correct or not) so
comprehensive as to include in one synthesis every subject dealt
with. For according to that point of view, a skyscraper is only a
symbol--and of what? A condition of consciousness, that is, a state of
the soul. Democracy even, we are beginning to discover, is a condition
of consciousness too.

Our only hope of understanding the welter of life in which we are
immersed, as in a swift and muddy river, is in ascending as near
to its pure source as we can. That source is in consciousness and
consciousness is in ourselves. This is the point of view from which
each problem dealt with has been attacked; but lest the author be at
once set down as an impracticable dreamer, dwelling aloof in an ivory
tower, the reader should know that his book has been written in
the scant intervals afforded by the practice of the profession of
architecture, so broadened as to include the study of abstract form,
the creation of ornament, experiments with color and light, and such
occasional educational activities as from time to time he has been
called upon to perform at one or another architectural school.

The three essays included under the general heading of "Democracy
and Architecture" were prepared at the request of the editor of _The
Architectural Record_, and were published in that journal. The two
following, on "Ornament from Mathematics," represent a recasting and
a rewriting of articles which have appeared in _The Architectural
Review, The Architectural Forum_, and _The American Architect_.
"Harnessing the Rainbow" is an address delivered before the Ad. Club
of Cleveland, and the Rochester Rotary Club, and afterwards made into
an essay and published in _The American Architect_ under a different
title. The appreciation of Louis Sullivan as a writer appears here for
the first time, the author having previously paid his respects to Mr.
Sullivan's strictly architectural genius in an essay in _House and
Garden_. "Color and Ceramics" was delivered on the occasion of the
dedication of the Ceramic Building of the University of Illinois,
and afterwards published in _The Architectural Forum_. "Symbols and
Sacraments" was printed in the English Quarterly _Orpheus_. "Self
Education" was delivered before the Boston Architectural Club, and
afterwards published in a number of architectural journals.

Acknowledgment is hereby tendered by the author to the editors of
these various magazines for their consent to republication, together
with thanks, however belated, for their unfailing hospitality to the
children of his brain.


_August 1, 1918_.



     I. Before the War

    II. During the War

   III. After the War


     I. The World Order

    II. The Fourth Dimension







  Plate    I. The Woolworth Building, New York

  Plate   II. The New York Public Library

  Plate  III. The Prudential Building, Buffalo, N.Y.

  Plate   IV. The Erie County Savings Bank, Buffalo, N.Y.

  Plate    V. The New York Central Terminal

  Plate   VI. Plan of the Red Cross Community Club House,
              Camp Sherman, Ohio

  Plate  VII. Interior View of the Camp Sherman Community House

  Plate VIII. Imaginative Sketch by Henry P. Kirby

  Plate   IX. Architectural Sketch by Otto Rieth

  Plate    X. 200 West 57th Street, New York

  Plate   XI. Imaginary Composition: The Portal

  Plate  XII. Imaginary Composition: The Balcony

  Plate XIII. Imaginary Composition: The Audience Chamber

  Plate  XIV. Song and Light: An Approach toward "Color Music"

  Plate   XV. Symbol of Resurrection

Every form of government, every social institution, every
undertaking, however great, however small, every symbol of
enlightenment or degradation, each and all have sprung and are still
springing from the life of the people, and have ever formed and are
now as surely forming images of their thought. Slowly by centuries,
generations, years, days, hours, the thought of the people has
changed; so with precision have their acts responsively changed; thus
thoughts and acts have flowed and are flowing ever onward, unceasingly
onward, involved within the impelling power of Life. Throughout this
stream of human life, and thought, and activity, men have ever felt
the need to build; and from the need arose the power to build. So,
as they thought, they built; for, strange as it may seem, they could
build in no other way. As they built, they made, used, and left behind
them records of their thinking. Then, as through the years new men
came with changed thoughts, so arose new buildings in consonance
with the change of thought--the building always the expression of
the thinking. Whatever the character of the thinking, just so was the
character of the building.

What is Architecture? A Study in the American People of Today, by

Architecture and Democracy



The world war represents not the triumph, but the birth of democracy.
The true ideal of democracy--the rule of a people by the _demos_, or
group soul--is a thing unrealized. How then is it possible to consider
or discuss an architecture of democracy--the shadow of a shade? It is
not possible to do so with any degree of finality, but by an intention
of consciousness upon this juxtaposition of ideas--architecture and
democracy--signs of the times may yield new meanings, relations may
emerge between things apparently unrelated, and the future, always
existent in every present moment, may be evoked by that strange magic
which resides in the human mind.

Architecture, at its worst as at its best, reflects always a true
image of the thing that produced it; a building is revealing even
though it is false, just as the face of a liar tells the thing
his words endeavor to conceal. This being so, let us make such
architecture as is ours declare to us our true estate.

The architecture of the United States, from the period of the Civil
War, up to the beginning of the present crisis, everywhere reflects a
struggle to be free of a vicious and depraved form of feudalism,
grown strong under the very ægis of democracy. The qualities that made
feudalism endeared and enduring; qualities written in beauty on
the cathedral cities of mediaeval Europe--faith, worship,
loyalty, magnanimity--were either vanished or banished from this
pseudo-democratic, aridly scientific feudalism, leaving an inheritance
of strife and tyranny--a strife grown mean, a tyranny grown prudent,
but full of sinister power the weight of which we have by no means
ceased to feel.

Power, strangely mingled with timidity; ingenuity, frequently
misdirected; ugliness, the result of a false ideal of beauty--these
in general characterize the architecture of our immediate past; an
architecture "without ancestry or hope of posterity," an architecture
devoid of coherence or conviction; willing to lie, willing to steal.
What impression such a city as Chicago or Pittsburgh might have made
upon some denizen of those cathedral-crowned feudal cities of the
past we do not know. He would certainly have been amazed at its giant
energy, and probably revolted at its grimy dreariness. We are wont
to pity the mediaeval man for the dirt he lived in, even while smoke
greys our sky and dirt permeates the very air we breathe: we think of
castles as grim and cathedrals as dim, but they were beautiful and gay
with color compared with the grim, dim canyons of our city streets.

Lafcadio Hearn, in _A Conservative_, has sketched for us, with a
sympathy truly clairvoyant, the impression made by the cities of the
West upon the consciousness of a young Japanese samurai educated under
a feudalism not unlike that of the Middle Ages, wherein was worship,
reverence, poetry, loyalty--however strangely compounded with the more
sinister products of the feudal state.

    Larger than all anticipation the West appeared to him,--a
    world of giants; and that which depresses even the boldest
    Occidental who finds himself, without means or friends, alone
    in a great city, must often have depressed the Oriental exile:
    that vague uneasiness aroused by the sense of being invisible
    to hurrying millions; by the ceaseless roar of traffic
    drowning voices; by monstrosities of architecture without a
    soul; by the dynamic display of wealth forcing mind and
    hand, as mere cheap machinery, to the uttermost limits of
    the possible. Perhaps he saw such cities as Doré saw London:
    sullen majesty of arched glooms, and granite deeps opening
    into granite deeps beyond range of vision, and mountains
    of masonry with seas of labor in turmoil at their base, and
    monumental spaces displaying the grimness of ordered power
    slow-gathering through centuries. Of beauty there was nothing
    to make appeal to him between those endless cliffs of stone
    which walled out the sunrise and the sunset, the sky and the

The view of our pre-war architecture thus sketchily presented is sure
to be sharply challenged in certain quarters, but unfortunately for
us all this is no mere matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. The
buildings are there, open to observation; rooted to the spot, they
cannot run away. Like criminals "caught with the goods" they stand,
self-convicted, dirty with the soot of a thousand chimneys, heavy with
the spoils of vanished civilizations; graft and greed stare at us out
of their glazed windows--eyes behind which no soul can be discerned.
There are doubtless extenuating circumstances; they want to be clean,
they want to be honest, these "monsters of the mere market," but they
are nevertheless the unconscious victims of evils inherent in our
transitional social state.

Let us examine these strange creatures, doomed, it is hoped, to
extinction in favor of more intelligent and gracious forms of
life. They are big, powerful, "necessitous," and have therefore an
impressiveness, even an æsthetic appeal, not to be denied. So subtle
and sensitive an old-world consciousness as that of M. Paul Bourget
was set vibrating by them like a violin to the concussion of a
trip-hammer, and to the following tune:

    The portals of the basements, usually arched as if crushed
    beneath the weight of the mountains which they support, look
    like dens of a primitive race, continually receiving and
    pouring forth a stream of people. You lift your eyes, and you
    feel that up there behind the perpendicular wall, with
    its innumerable windows, is a multitude coming and
    going,--crowding the offices that perforate these cliffs of
    brick and iron, dizzied with the speed of the elevators.
    You divine, you feel the hot breath of speculation quivering
    behind these windows. This it is which has fecundated these
    thousands of square feet of earth, in order that from them may
    spring up this appalling growth of business palaces, that hide
    the sun from you and almost shut out the light of day.

"The simple power of necessity is to a certain degree a principle of
beauty," says M. Bourget, and to these structures this order of beauty
cannot be denied, but even this is vitiated by a failure to press the
advantage home: the ornate façades are notably less impressive
than those whose grim and stark geometry is unmitigated by the
grave-clothes of dead styles. Instances there are of strivings toward
a beauty that is fresh and living, but they are so unsuccessful and
infrequent as to be negligible. However impressive these buildings may
be by reason of their ordered geometry, their weight and magnitude,
and as a manifestation of irrepressible power, they have the
unloveliness of things ignoble being the product neither of praise,
nor joy, nor worship, but enclosures for the transaction of sharp
bargains--gold bringing jinn of our modern Aladdins, who love them not
but only use them. That is the reason they are ugly; no one has loved
them for themselves alone.

For beauty is ever the very face of love. From the architecture of
a true democracy, founded on love and mutual service, beauty would
inevitably shine forth; its absence convicts us of a maladjustment in
our social and economic life. A skyscraper shouldering itself aloft at
the expense of its more humble neighbors, stealing their air and
their sunlight, is a symbol, written large against the sky, of
the will-to-power of a man or a group of men--of that ruthless and
tireless aggression on the part of the cunning and the strong so
characteristic of the period which produced the skyscraper. One of
our streets made up of buildings of diverse styles and shapes and
sizes--like a jaw with some teeth whole, some broken, some rotten,
and some gone--is a symbol of our unkempt individualism, now happily
becoming curbed and chastened by a common danger, a common devotion.

Some people hold the view that our insensitiveness to formal beauty is
no disgrace. Such argue that our accomplishments and our interests are
in other fields, where we more than match the accomplishments of older
civilizations. They forget that every achievement not registered in
terms of beauty has failed of its final and enduring transmutation. It
is because the achievements of older civilizations attained to their
apotheoses in art that they interest us, and unless we are able
to effect a corresponding transmutation we are destined to perish
unhonoured on our rubbish heap. That we shall effect it, through
knowledge and suffering, is certain, but before attempting the
more genial and rewarding task of tracing, in our life and in our
architecture, those forces and powers which make for righteousness,
for beauty, let us look our failures squarely in the face, and
discover if we can why they are failures.

Confining this examination to the particular matter under discussion,
the neo-feudal architecture of our city streets, we find it to lack
unity, and the reason for this lack of unity dwells in a _divided
consciousness_. The tall office building is the product of many
forces, or perhaps we should say one force, that of necessity; but its
concrete embodiment is the result of two different orders of talent,
that of the structural engineer and of the architectural designer.
These are usually incarnate in two different individuals, working
more or less at cross purposes. It is the business of the engineer
to preoccupy himself solely with ideas of efficiency and economy,
and over his efficient and economical structure the designer smears
a frosting of beauty in the form of architectural style, in the
archæological sense. This is a foolish practice, and cannot but result
in failure. In the case of a Greek temple or a mediaeval cathedral
structure and style were not twain, but one; the structure determined
the style, the style expressed the structure; but with us so divorced
have the two things become that in a case known to the author, the
structural framework of a great office building was determined and
fabricated and then architects were invited to "submit designs"
for the exterior. This is of course an extreme example and does not
represent the usual practice, but it brings sharply to consciousness
the well known fact that for these buildings we have substantially one
method of construction--that of the vertical strut, and the horizontal
"fill"--while in style they appear as Grecian, Roman, Renaissance,
Gothic, Modern French and what not, according to the whim of the


With the modern tendency toward specialization, the natural outgrowth
of necessity, there is no inherent reason why the bones of a building
should not be devised by one man and its fleshly clothing by another,
so long as they understand one another, and are in ideal agreement,
but there is in general all too little understanding, and a
confusion of ideas and aims. To the average structural engineer the
architectural designer is a mere milliner in stone, informed in those
prevailing architectural fashions of which he himself knows little and
cares less. Preoccupied as he is with the building's strength, safety,
economy; solving new and staggeringly difficult problems with address
and daring, he has scant sympathy with such inconsequent matters as
the stylistic purity of a façade, or the profile of a moulding. To the
designer, on the other hand, the engineer appears in the light of a
subordinate to be used for the promotion of his own ends, or an evil
to be endured as an interference with those ends.

As a result of this lack of sympathy and co-ordination, success crowns
only those efforts in which, on the one hand, the stylist has been
completely subordinated to engineering necessity, as in the case of
the East River bridges, where the architect was called upon only to
add a final grace to the strictly structural towers; or on the other
hand, in which the structure is of the old-fashioned masonry sort, and
faced with a familiar problem the architect has found it easy to be
frank; as in the case of the Manhattan Storage Warehouse, on 42nd
Street, New York, or in the Bryant Park façade on the New York
Library. The Woolworth building is a notable example of the complete
co-ordination between the structural framework and its envelope, and
falls short of ideal success only in the employment of an archaic and
alien ornamental language, used, however, let it be said, with a fine
understanding of the function of ornament.

For the most part though, there is a difference of intention between
the engineer and the designer; they look two ways, and the result of
their collaboration is a flat and confused image of the thing that
should be, not such as is produced by truly binocular vision. This
difference of aim is largely the result of a difference of education.
Engineering science of the sort which the use of steel has required is
a thing unprecedented; the engineer cannot hark back to the past for
help, even if he would. The case is different with the architectural
designer; he is taught that all of the best songs have been sung, all
of the true words spoken. The Glory that was Greece, and the Grandeur
that was Rome, the romantic exuberance of Gothic, and the ordered
restraint of Renaissance are so drummed into him during his years of
training, and exercise so tyrannical a spell over his imagination that
he loses the power of clear and logical thought, and never becomes
truly creative. Free of this incubus the engineer has succeeded in
being straightforward and sensible, to say the least; subject to it
the man with a so-called architectural education is too often tortuous
and absurd.

The architect without any training in the essentials of design
produces horrors as a matter of course, for the reason that sin is the
result of ignorance; the architect trained in the false manner of the
current schools becomes a reconstructive archæologist, handicapped by
conditions with which he can deal only imperfectly, and imperfectly
control. Once in a blue moon a man arises who, with all the advantages
inherent in education, pierces through the past to the present, and
is able to use his brain as the architects of the past used theirs--to
deal simply and directly with his immediate problem.

Such a man is Louis Sullivan, though it must be admitted that not
always has he achieved success. That success was so marked, however,
in his treatment of the problem of the tall building, and exercised
subconsciously such a spell upon the minds even of his critics and
detractors, that it resulted in the emancipation of this type of
building from an absurd and impossible convention--the practice,
common before his time, of piling order upon order, like a house
of cards, or by a succession of strongly marked string courses
emphasizing the horizontal dimension of a vertical edifice, thus
vitiating the finest effect of which such a building is capable.

The problem of the tall building, with which his predecessors dealt
always with trepidation and equivocation, Mr. Sullivan approached
with confidence and joy. "What," he asked himself, "is the chief
characteristic of the tall office building? It is lofty. This
loftiness is to the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It must be
tall. The force of altitude must be in it. It must be every inch a
proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom
to top it is a unit without a dissenting line." The Prudential
(Guaranty) building in Buffalo represents the finest concrete
embodiment of his idea achieved by Mr. Sullivan. It marks his
emancipation from what he calls his "masonry" period, during which
he tried, like so many other architects before and since, to make a
steel-framed structure look as though it were nothing but a masonry
wall perforated with openings--openings too many and too great not
to endanger its stability. The keen blade of Mr. Sullivan's mind cut
through this contradiction, and in the Prudential building he carried
out the idea of a _protective casing_ so successfully that Montgomery
Schuyler said of it, "I know of no steel framed building in which the
metallic construction is more palpably felt through the envelope of
baked clay."


The present author can speak with all humbleness of the general
failure, on the part of the architectural profession, to appreciate
the importance of this achievement, for he pleads guilty of day after
day having passed the Prudential building, then fresh in the majesty
of its soaring lines, and in the wonder of its fire-wrought casing,
with eyes and admiration only for the false romanticism of the Erie
County Savings Bank, and the empty bombast of the gigantic Ellicott
Square. He had not at that period of his life succeeded in living down
his architectural training, and as a result the most ignorant layman
was in a better position to appraise the relative merits of these
three so different incarnations of the building impulse than was he.

Since the Prudential building there have been other tall office
buildings, by other hands, truthful in the main, less rigid, less
monotonous, more superficially pleasing, yet they somehow fail to
impart the feeling of utter sincerity and fresh originality inspired
by this building. One feels that here democracy has at last found
utterance in beauty; the American spirit speaks, the spirit of the
Long Denied. This rude, rectangular bulk is uncompromisingly practical
and utilitarian; these rows on rows of windows, regularly spaced, and
all of the same size, suggest the equality and monotony of obscure,
laborious lives; the upspringing shafts of the vertical piers stand
for their hopes and aspirations, and the unobtrusive, delicate
ornament which covers the whole with a garment of fresh beauty is like
the very texture of their dreams. The building is able to speak
thus powerfully to the imagination because its creator is a poet
and prophet of democracy. In his own chosen language he declares, as
Whitman did in verse, his faith in the people of "these states"--"A
Nation announcing itself." Others will doubtless follow who will make
a richer music, commensurate with the future's richer life, but such
democracy as is ours stands here proclaimed, just as such feudalism
as is still ours stands proclaimed in the Erie County Bank just across
the way. The massive rough stone walls of this building, its pointed
towers and many dormered chateau-like roof unconsciously symbolize the
attempt to impose upon the living present a moribund and alien
order. Democracy is thus afflicted, and the fact must needs find
architectural expression.

In the field of domestic architecture these dramatic contrasts are
less evident, less sharply marked. Domestic life varies little from
age to age; a cottage is a cottage the world over, and some manorial
mansion on the James River, built in Colonial days, remains a fitting
habitation (assuming the addition of electric lights and sanitary
plumbing) for one of our Captains of Industry, however little an
ancient tobacco warehouse would serve him as a place of business.
This fact is so well recognized that the finest type of modern country
house follows, in general, this or some other equally admirable model,
though it is amusing to note the millionaire's preference for a feudal
castle, a French chateau, or an Italian villa of the decadence.

The "man of moderate means," so called, provides himself with
no difficulty with a comfortable house, undistinguished but
unpretentious, which fits him like a glove. There is a piazza towards
the street, a bay-window in the living room, a sleeping-porch for the
children, and a box of a garage for the flivver in the bit of a back

For the wage earner the housing problem is not so easily nor
so successfully solved. He is usually between the devil of the
speculative builder and the deep sea of the predatory landlord, each
intent upon taking from him the limit that the law allows and giving
him as little as possible for his money. Going down the scale of
indigence we find an itinerancy amounting almost to homelessness, or
houses so abject that they are an insult to the very name of home.


It is an eloquent commentary upon our national attitude toward a most
vital matter that in this feverish hustle to produce ships, airplanes,
clothing and munitions on a vast scale, the housing of the workers was
either overlooked entirely, or received eleventh-hour consideration,
and only now, after a year of participation in the war, is it
beginning to be adequately and officially dealt with--how efficiently
and intelligently remains to be seen. The housing of the soldiers was
another matter: that necessity was plain and urgent, and the miracle
has been accomplished, but except by indirection it has contributed
nothing to the permanent housing problem.

Other aspects of our life which have found architectural expression
fall neither in the commercial nor in the domestic category--the great
hotels, for example, which partake of the nature of both, and our
passenger railway terminals, which partake of the nature of neither.
These latter deserve especial consideration in this connection, by
reason of their important function. The railway is of the very essence
of the modern, even though (with what sublime unreason) Imperial Rome
is written large over New York's most magnificent portal.

Think not that in an age of unfaith mankind gives up the building
of temples. Temples inevitably arise where the tide of life flows
strongest; for there God manifests, in however strange a guise. That
tide is nowhere stronger than in the railroad, which is the arterial
system of our civilization. All arteries lead to and from the heart,
and thus the railroad terminus becomes the beating heart at the center
of modern life. It is a true instinct therefore which prompts to
the making of the terminal building a very temple, a monument to
the conquest of space through the harnessing of the giant horses of
electricity and steam. This conquest must be celebrated on a scale
commensurate with its importance, and in obedience to this necessity
the Pennsylvania station raised its proud head amid the push-cart
architecture of that portion of New York in which it stands. It is not
therefore open to the criticism often passed upon it, that it is too
grand, but it is the wrong kind of grandeur. If there be truth in the
contention that the living needs of today cannot be grafted upon the
dead stump of any ancient grandeur, the futility of every attempt to
accomplish this impossible will somehow, somewhere, reveal itself to
the discerning eye. Let us seek out, in this building, the place of
this betrayal.

It is not necessarily in the main façade, though this is not a face,
but a mask--and a mask can, after its kind, always be made beautiful;
it is not in the nobly vaulted corridor, lined with shops--for all we
know the arcades of Imperial Rome were similarly lined; nor is it in
the splendid vestibule, leading into the magnificent waiting room, in
which a subject of the Cæsars would have felt more perfectly at home,
perhaps, than do we. But beyond this passenger concourse, where the
elevators and stairways descend to the tracks, necessity demanded the
construction of a great enclosure, supported only on slender columns
and far-flung trusses roofed with glass. Now latticed columns, steel
trusses, and wire glass are inventions of the modern world too useful
to be dispensed with. Rome could not help the architect here. The mode
to which he was inexorably self-committed in the rest of the building
demanded massive masonry, cornices, mouldings; a tribute to Cæsar
which could be paid everywhere but in this place. The architect's
problem then became to reconcile two diametrically different systems.
But between the west wall of the ancient Roman baths and the modern
skeleton construction of the roof of the human greenhouse there is
no attempt at fusion. The slender latticed columns cut unpleasantly
through the granite cornices and mouldings; the first century A.D. and
the twentieth are here in incongruous juxtaposition--a little thing,
easily overlooked, yet how revealing! How reassuring of the fact "God
is not mocked!"

The New York Central terminal speaks to the eye in a modern tongue,
with however French an accent. Its façade suggests a portal, reminding
the beholder that a railway station is in a very literal sense a city
gate placed just as appropriately in the center of the municipality as
in ancient times it was placed in the circuit of the outer walls.

Neither edifice will stand the acid test of Mr. Sullivan's formula,
that a building is an organism and should follow the law of organisms,
which decrees that the form must everywhere follow and express the
function, the function determining and creating its appropriate form.
Here are two eminent examples of "arranged" architecture. Before
organic architecture can come into being our inchoate national life
must itself become organic. Arranged architecture, of the sort we
see everywhere, despite its falsity, is a true expression of the
conditions which gave it birth.


The grandeur of Rome, the splendour of Paris--what just and adequate
expression do they give of modern American life? Then shall we find in
our great hotels, say, such expression? Truly they represent, in the
phrase of Henry James, "a realized ideal" and a study of them should
reveal that ideal. From such a study we can only conclude that it
is life without effort or responsibility, with every physical need
luxuriously gratified. But these hotels nevertheless represent
democracy, it may be urged, for the reason that every one may there
buy board and lodging and mercenary service if he has the price. The
exceeding greatness of that price, however, makes of it a badge
of nobility which converts these democratic hostelries into feudal
castles, more inaccessible to the Long Denied than as though entered
by a drawbridge and surrounded by a moat.

We need not even glance at the churches, for the tides of our
spiritual life flow no longer in full volume through their portals;
neither may the colleges long detain us, for architecturally
considered they give forth a confusion of tongues which has its
analogue in the confusion of ideas in the collective academic head.

Is our search for some sign of democracy ended, and is it vain? No,
democracy exists in the secret heart of the people, all the people,
but it is a thing so new, so strange, so secret and sacred--the ideal
of brotherhood--that it is unmanifest yet in time and space. It is
a thing born not with the Declaration of Independence, but only
yesterday, with the call to a new crusade. The National Army is its
cradle, and it is nurtured wherever communities unite to serve the
sacred cause. Although menaced by the bloody sword of Imperialism in
Europe, it perhaps stands in no less danger from the secret poison
of graft and greed and treachery here at home. But it is a spiritual
birth, and therefore it cannot perish, but will live to write itself
on space in terms of beauty such as the world has never known.



The best thing that can be said about our immediate architectural
past is that it is past, for it has contributed little of value to an
architecture of democracy. During that neo-feudal period the architect
prospered, having his place at the baronial table; but now poor Tom's
a-cold on a war-swept heath, with food only for reflection. This
is but natural; the architect, in so far as he is an artist, is a
purveyor of beauty; and the abnormal conditions inevitable to a state
of war are devastating to so feminine and tender a thing, even though
war be the very soil from which new beauty springs. With Mars in
mid-heaven how afflicted is the horoscope of all artists! The skilled
hand of the musician is put to coarser uses; the eye that learned
its lessons from the sunset must learn the trick of making invisible
warships and great guns. Let the architect serve the war-god likewise,
in any capacity that offers, confident that this troubling of the
waters will bring about a new precipitation; that once the war is
over, men will turn from those "old, unhappy, far-off things" to
pastures beautiful and new.

In whatever way the war may complicate the architect's personal
problem, it should simplify and clarify his attitude toward his art.
With no matter what seriousness and sincerity he may have undertaken
his personal search for truth and beauty, he will come to question,
as never before, both its direction and its results. He is bound to
perceive, if he does not perceive already, that the war's arrestment
of architecture (in all but its most utilitarian and ephemeral phases)
is no great loss to the world for the reason that our architecture was
uninspired, unoriginal, done without joy, without reverence, without
conviction: a thing which any wind of a new spirit was bound to make
appear foolish to a generation with sight rendered clairvoyant through
its dedication to great and regenerative ends.

He will come to perceive that between the Civil War and the crusade
that is now upon us, we were under the evil spell of materialism. Now
materialism is the very negation of democracy, which is a government
by the _demos_, or over-soul; it is equally the negation of joy, the
negation of reverence, and it is without conviction because it cannot
believe even in itself. Reflecting thus, he can scarcely fail to
realize that materialism, everywhere entrenched, was entrenched
strongest in the camps of the rich---not the idle rich, for
materialism is so terrible a taskmaster that it makes its votaries its
slaves. These slaves, in turn, made a slave of the artist, a minister
to their pride and pretence. His art thus lacked that "sad sincerity"
which alone might have saved it in a crisis. When the storm broke
militant democracy turned to the engineer, who produced buildings at
record speed, by the mile, with only such architectural assistance as
could be first and easiest fished up from the dragnet of the draft.

In one direction only does there appear to be open water. Toward the
general housing problem the architectural profession has been spurred
into activity by reason of the war, and to its credit be it said, it
is now thoroughly aroused. The American Institute of Architects sent a
commissioner to England to study housing in its latest manifestations,
and some of the ablest and most influential members of that
organization have placed their services at the disposal of the
government. Moreover, there is a manifest disposition, on the part of
architects everywhere, to help in this matter all they can. The danger
dwells in the possibility that their advice will not be heeded, their
services not be fully utilized, but through chicanery, ignorance,
or inanition, we will relapse into the tentative, "expensively
provisional" methods which have governed the housing of workers
hitherto. Even so, architects will doubtless recapture, and more
than recapture, their imperiled prestige, but under what changed
conditions, and with what an altered attitude toward their art and
their craft!

They will find that they must unlearn certain things the schools had
taught them: preoccupation with the relative merits of Gothic and
Classic--tweedledum and tweedledee. Furthermore, they must learn
certain neglected lessons from the engineer, lessons that they will
be able immeasurably to better, for although the engineer is a very
monster of competence and efficiency within his limits, these are
sharply marked, and to any detailed knowledge of that "beautiful
necessity" which determines spatial rhythm and counterpoint he is a
stranger. The ideal relation between architect and engineer is that of
a happily wedded pair--strength married to beauty; in the period just
passed or passing they have been as disgruntled divorcés.


The author has in mind one child of such a happy union brought about
by the war; the building is the Red Cross Community Club House at Camp
Sherman, which, in the pursuit of his destiny, and for the furtherance
of his education, he inhabited for two memorable weeks. He learned
there more lessons than a few, and encountered more tangled skeins of
destiny than he is ever likely to unravel. The matter has so direct a
bearing, both on the subject of architecture and of democracy, that it
is worth discussing at some length.

This club house stands, surrounded by its tributary dormitories, on a
government reservation, immediately adjacent to the camp itself,
the whole constituting what is known as the Community Center. By the
payment of a dollar any soldier is free to entertain his relatives
and friends there, and it is open to all the soldiers at all times.
Because the iron discipline of the army is relaxed as soon as the
limits of the camp are overpassed, the atmosphere is favourable to
social life.

The building occupies its acre of ground invitingly, though exteriorly
of no particular distinction. It is the interior that entitles it to
consideration as a contribution to an architecture of that new-born
democracy of which our army camps have been the cradle. The plan of
this interior is cruciform, two hundred feet in each dimension. Built
by the Red Cross of the state of Ohio, and dedicated to the larger
uses of that organization, the symbolic appropriateness of this
particular geometrical figure should not pass unremarked. The cross
is divided into side aisles, nave, and crossing, with galleries and
mezzanines so arranged as to shorten the arms of the cross in its
upper stages, leaving the clear-story surrounding the crossing
unimpeded and well defined. The light comes for the most part from
high windows, filtering down, in tempered brightness to the floor. The
bones of the structure are everywhere in evidence, and an element of
its beauty, by reason of the admirably direct and logical
arrangement of posts and trusses. The vertical walls are covered with
plaster-board of a light buff color, converted into good sized
panels by means of wooden strips finished with a thin grey stain. The
structural wood work is stained in similar fashion, the iron rods,
straps, and bolts being painted black. This color scheme is
completed and a little enlivened by red stripes and crosses placed at
appropriate intervals in the general design.

The building attained its final synthesis through the collaboration of
a Cleveland architect and a National Army captain of engineers. It is
so single in its appeal that one does not care to inquire too closely
into the part of each in the performance; both are in evidence, for
an architect seldom succeeds in being so direct and simple, while an
engineer seldom succeeds in being so gracious and altogether suave.

Entirely aside from its æsthetic interest--based as this is on beauty
of organism almost alone--the building is notable for the success with
which it fulfils and co-ordinates its manifold functions: those of a
dormitory, a restaurant, a ballroom, a theatre, and a lounge. The
arm of the cross containing the principal entrance accommodates the
office, coat room, telephones, news and cigar stand, while leaving
the central nave unimpeded, so that from the door one gets the unusual
effect of an interior vista two hundred feet long. The restaurant
occupies the entire left transept, with a great brick fireplace at the
far end. There is another fireplace in the centre of the side of
the arm beyond the crossing; that part which would correspond in a
cathedral to the choir and apse being given over to the uses of a
reading and writing room. The right transept forms a theatre, on
occasion, terminating as it does with a stage. The central floor
spaces are kept everywhere free except in the restaurant, the sides
and angles being filled in with leather-covered sofas, wicker and
wooden chairs and tables, arranged in groups favourable to comfort and
conversation. Two stairways, at the right and left of the restaurant,
give access to the ample balcony and to the bedrooms, which occupy
three of the four ends of the arms of the cross at this level.

The appearance and atmosphere of this great interior is inspiring;
particularly of an evening, when it is thronged with soldiers, and
civilian guests. The strains of music, the hum of many voices, the
rhythmic shuffle on the waxed floor of the feet of the dancers--these
eminently social sounds mingle and lose themselves in the spaces of
the roof, like the voice of many waters. Tobacco smoke ascends like
incense, blue above the prevailing green-brown of the crowd, shot here
and there with brighter colors from the women's hats and dresses, in
the kaleidoscopic shifting of the dance. Long parallel rows of orange
lights, grouped low down on the lofty pillars, reflect themselves
on the polished floor, and like the patina of time on painted canvas
impart to the entire animated picture an incomparable tone. For the
lighting, either by accident or by inspiration, is an achievement
of the happiest, an example of the friendliness of fate to him who
attempts a free solution of his problem. The brackets consist merely
of a cruciform arrangement of planed pine boards about each column,
with the end grain painted red. On the under side of each arm of the
cross is a single electric bulb enclosed within an orange-coloured
shade to kill the glare. The light makes the bare wood of the fixture
appear incandescent, defining its geometry in rose colour with the
most beautiful effect.

The club house is the centre of the social and ceremonial life of the
camp, for balls, dinners, receptions, conferences, concerts without
number; and it has been the scene of a military wedding--the daughter
of a major-general to the grandson of an ex-president. To these events
the unassuming, but pervasive beauty of the place lends a dignity new
to our social life. In our army camps social life is truly democratic,
as any one who has experienced it does not need to be told. Not alone
have the conditions of conscription conspired to make it so, but there
is a manifest _will-to-democracy_--the growing of a new flower of
the spirit, sown in a community of sacrifice, to reach its maturity,
perhaps, only in a community of suffering.

The author may seem to have over-praised this Community Club House;
with the whole country to draw from for examples it may well appear
fatuous to concentrate the reader's attention, for so long, on a
building in a remote part of the Middle West: cheap, temporary,
and requiring only twenty-one days for its erection. But of the
transvaluation of values brought about by the war, this building is
an eminent example: it stands in symbolic relation to the times; it
represents what may be called the architecture of Service; it is among
the first of the new temples of the new democracy, dedicated to the
uses of simple, rational social life. Notwithstanding that it fills a
felt need, common to every community, there is nothing like it in
any of our towns and cities; there are only such poor and partial
substitutes as the hotel, the saloon, the dance hall, the lodge room
and the club. It is scarcely conceivable that the men and women who
have experienced its benefits and its beauty should not demand and
have similar buildings in their own home towns.


Beyond the oasis of the Community Club House at Camp Sherman stretch
the cantonments--a Euclidian nightmare of bare boards, black roofs
and ditches, making grim vistas of straight lines. This is the
architecture of Need in contradistinction to the architecture of
Greed, symbolized in the shop-window prettiness of those sanitary
suburbs of our cities created by the real estate agent and the
speculative builder. Neither contain any enduring element of beauty.

But the love of beauty in one form or another exists in every human
heart, and if too long or too rigorously denied it finds its own
channels of fulfilment. This desire for self-expression through beauty
is an important, though little remarked phenomenon of these mid-war
times. At the camps it shows itself in the efforts of men of
specialized tastes and talents to get together and form dramatic
organizations, glee clubs, and orchestras; and more generally by the
disposition of the soldiers to sing together at work and play and on
the march. The renascence of poetry can be interpreted as a revulsion
against the prevailing prosiness; the amateur theatre is equally a
protest against the inanity and conventionality of the commercial
stage; while the Community Chorus movement is an evidence of a desire
to escape a narrow professionalism in music. A similar situation
has arisen in the field of domestic architecture, in the form of
an unorganized, but wide-spread reaction against the cheap and ugly
commercialism which has dominated house construction and decoration of
the more unpretentious class. This became articulate a few years ago
in the large number of books and magazines devoted to house-planning,
construction, decoration, furnishing, and garden-craft. The success
which has attended these publications, and their marked influence,
give some measure of the magnitude of this revolt.

But now attention must be called to a significant, and somewhat
sinister fact. The professional in these various fields of æsthetic
endeavour, has shown either indifference or active hostility toward
all manner of amateur efforts at self-expression. Free verse aroused
the ridicule of the professors of metrics; the Little Theatre movement
was solemnly banned by such pundits as Belasco and Mrs. Fiske; the
Community Chorus movement has invariably met with opposition and
misunderstanding from professional musicians; and with few exceptions
the more influential architects have remained aloof from the effort
to give skilled architectural assistance to those who cannot afford to
pay them ten per cent.

Thus everywhere do we discover a deadening hand laid upon the
self-expression of the democratic spirit through beauty. Its enemies
are of its own household; those who by nature and training should
be its helpers hinder it instead. Why do they do this? Because their
fastidious, æsthetic natures are outraged by a crudeness which they
themselves could easily refine away if they chose; because also they
recoil at a lack of conformity to existing conventions--conventions
so hampering to the inner spirit of the Newness, that in order to
incarnate at all it must of necessity sweep them aside.

But in every field of æsthetic endeavour appears here and there a
man or a woman with unclouded vision, who is able to see in the
flounderings of untrained amateurs the stirrings of _demos_ from his
age-long sleep. These, often forsaking paths more profitable, lend
their skilled assistance, not seeking to impose the ancient outworn
forms upon the Newness, but by a transfusion of consciousness
permitting it to create forms of its own. Such a one, in architecture,
Louis Sullivan has proved himself; in music Harry Barnhart, who evokes
the very spirit of song from any random crowd. The _demos_ found voice
first in the poetry of Walt Whitman who has a successor in Vachel
Lindsay, the man who walked through Kansas, trading poetry for food
and lodging, teaching the farmers' sons and daughters to intone
his stirring odes to Pocahontas, General Booth, and Old John Brown.
Isadora Duncan, Gordon Craig, Maeterlinck, Scriabine are perhaps
too remote from the spirit of democracy, too tinged with old-world
æstheticism, to be included in this particular category, but all
are image-breakers, liberators, and have played their part in the
preparation of the field for an art of democracy.

To the architect falls the task, in the new dispensation, of providing
the appropriate material environment for its new life. If he holds the
old ideas and cherishes the old convictions current before the war
he can do nothing but reproduce their forms and fashions; for
architecture, in the last analysis, is only the handwriting of
consciousness on space, and materialism has written there already all
that it has to tell of its failure to satisfy the mind and heart of
man. However beautiful old forms may seem to him they will declare
their inadequacy to generations free of that mist of familiarity which
now makes life obscure. If, on the other hand, submitting himself
to the inspiration of the _demos_ he experiences a change of
consciousness, he will become truly and newly creative.

His problem, in other words, is not to interpret democracy in terms
of existing idioms, be they classic or romantic, but to experience
democracy in his heart and let it create and determine its new forms
through him. It is not for him to _impose_, it is for him to be
_imposed upon_.

  "The passive Master lent his hand
    To the vast soul that o'er him planned"

says Emerson in _The Problem_, a poem, which seems particularly
addressed to architects, and which every one of them would do well to
learn by heart.

If he is at a loss to know where to go and what to do in order to be
played upon by these great forces let him direct his attention to
the army and the army camps. Here the spirit of democracy is
already incarnate. These soldiers, violently shaken free from their
environment, stripped of all but the elemental necessities of life;
facing a sinister destiny beyond a human-shark-infested ocean,
are today the fortunate of earth by reason of their realization of
brotherhood, not as a beautiful theory, but as a blessed fact of
experience. They will come back with ideas that they cannot utter,
with memories that they cannot describe; they will have dreamed dreams
and seen visions, and their hearts will stir to potencies for which
materialism has not even a name.

The future of the country will be in their young hands. Will they
re-create, from its ruins, the faithless and loveless feudalism
from which the war set them free? No, they will seek only for
self-expression, the expression of that aroused and indwelling spirit
which shall create the new, the true democracy. And because it is a
spiritual thing it will come clothed in beauty; that is, it will find
its supreme expression through the forms of art. The architect who
assists in the emprise of weaving this garment will be supremely
blessed, but only he who has kept the vigil with prayer and fasting
will be supremely qualified.



  "When the old world is sterile
  And the ages are effete,
  He will from wrecks and sediment
  The fairer world complete."

      _The World Soul_. Emerson.

He whom the World Soul "forbids to despair" cannot but hope; and he
who hopes tries ever to imagine that "fairer world" yearning for birth
beyond this interval of blood and tears. Prophecy, to all but the
anointed, is dangerous and uncertain, but even so, the author cannot
forbear attempting to prevision the architecture likely to arise from
the wrecks and sediment left by the war. As a basis for this forecast
it is necessary first of all briefly to classify the expression of the
building impulse from what may be called the psychological point of

Broadly speaking, there are not five orders of architecture--nor
fifty--but only two: _Arranged_ and _Organic_. These correspond to the
two terms of that "inevitable duality" which bisects life. Talent and
genius, reason and intuition, bromide and sulphite are some of the
names we know them by.

Arranged architecture is reasoned and artificial; produced by talent,
governed by taste. Organic architecture, on the other hand, is the
product of some obscure inner necessity for self-expression which
is sub-conscious. It is as though Nature herself, through some human
organ of her activity, had addressed herself to the service of the
sons and daughters of men.

Arranged architecture in its finest manifestations is the product of
a pride, a knowledge, a competence, a confidence staggering to behold.
It seems to say of the works of Nature, "I'll show you a trick worth
two of that." For the subtlety of Nature's geometry, and for her
infinite variety and unexpectedness, Arranged architecture substitutes
a Euclidian system of straight lines and (for the most part) circular
curves, assembled and arranged according to a definite logic of
its own. It is created but not creative; it is imagined but not
imaginative. Organic architecture is both creative and imaginative. It
is non-Euclidian in the sense that it is higher-dimensional--that is,
it suggests extension in directions and into regions where the spirit
finds itself at home, but of which the senses give no report to the


To make the whole thing clearer it may be said that Arranged and
Organic architecture bear much the same relation to one another that
a piano bears to a violin. A piano is an instrument that does not give
forth discords if one follows the rules. A violin requires absolutely
an ear--an inner rectitude. It has a way of betraying the man of
talent and glorifying the genius, becoming one with his body and his

Of course it stands to reason that there is not always a hard and fast
differentiation between these two orders of architecture, but there
is one sure way by which each may be recognized and known. If the
function appears to have created the form, and if everywhere the
form follows the function, changing as that changes, the building is
Organic; if on the contrary, "the house confines the spirit," if the
building presents not a face but however beautiful a mask, it is an
example of Arranged architecture.

The Gothic cathedrals of the "Heart of Europe"--now the place of
Armageddon--represent the most perfect and powerful incarnation of
the Organic spirit in architecture. After the decadence of mediaeval
feudalism--synchronous with that of monasticism--the Arranged
architecture of the Renaissance acquired the ascendant; this was
coincident with the rise of humanism, when life became increasingly
secular. During the post-Renaissance, or scientific period, of which
the war probably marks the close, there has been a confusion of
tongues; architecture has spoken only alien or dead languages, learned
by rote.

But in so far as it is anything at all, æsthetically, our architecture
is Arranged, so if only by the operation of the law of opposites, or
alternation, we might reasonably expect the next manifestation to
be Organic. There are other and better reasons, however, for such

Organic architecture is ever a flower of the religious spirit. When
the soul draws near to the surface of life, as it did in the two
mystic centuries of the Middle Ages, it _organizes_ life; and
architecture, along, with the other arts becomes truly creative. The
informing force comes not so much _from_ man as _through_ him. After
the war that spirit of brotherhood, born in the camps--as Christ was
born in a manger--and bred on the battlefields and in the trenches of
Europe, is likely to take on all the attributes of a new religion of
humanity, prompting men to such heroisms and renunciations, exciting
in them such psychic sublimations, as have characterized the great
religious renewals of time past.

If this happens it is bound to write itself on space in an
architecture beautiful and new; one which "takes its shape and
sun-color" not from the niggardly mind, but from the opulent heart.
This architecture will of necessity be organic, the product not of
self-assertive personalities, but the work of the "Patient Daemon"
organizing the nation into a spiritual democracy.

The author is aware that in this point of view there is little of
the "scientific spirit"; but science fails to reckon with the soul.
Science advances facing backward, so what prevision can it have of a
miraculous and divinely inspired future--or for the matter of that,
of any future at all? The old methods and categories will no longer
answer; the orderly course of evolution has been violently interrupted
by the earthquake of the war; igneous action has superseded aqueous
action. The casements of the human mind look out no longer upon
familiar hills and valleys, but on a stark, strange, devastated
landscape, the ploughed land of some future harvest of the years.
It is the end of the Age, the _Kali Yuga_--the completion of a major
cycle; but all cycles follow the same sequence: after winter, Spring;
and after the Iron Age, the Golden.

The specific features of this organic, divinely inspired architecture
of the Golden Age cannot of course be discerned by any one, any more
than the manner in which the Great Mystery will present itself anew to
consciousness. The most imaginative artist can imagine only in
terms of the already-existent; he can speak only the language he has
learned. If that language has been derived from mediaevalism, he
will let his fancy soar after the manner of Henry Kirby, in his
_Imaginative Sketches_; if on the contrary he has learned to think in
terms of the classic vernacular, Otto Rieth's _Architectur-Skizzen_
will suggest the sort of thing that he is likely to produce. Both
results will be as remote as possible from future reality, for the
reason that they are so near to present reality. And yet some germs of
the future must be enfolded even in the present moment. The course
of wisdom is to seek them neither in the old romance nor in the new
rationalism, but in the subtle and ever-changing spirit of the times.


The most modern note yet sounded in business, in diplomacy, in social
life, is expressed by the phrase, "Live openly!" From every quarter,
in regard to every manner of human activity, has come the cry, "Let
in the light!" By a physical correspondence not the result of
coincidence, but of the operation of an occult law, we have, in a very
real sense, let in the light. In buildings of the latest type devoted
to large uses, there has been a general abandonment of that "cellular
system" of many partitions which produced the pepper-box exterior, in
favour of great rooms serving diverse functions lit by vast areas of
glass. Although an increase of efficiency has dictated and determined
these changes, this breaking down of barriers between human beings
and their common sharing of the light of day in fuller measure, is a
symbol of the growth of brotherhood, and the search, by the soul, for
spiritual light.

Now if this fellowship and this quest gain volume and intensity, its
physical symbols are bound to multiply and find ever more perfect
forms of manifestation. So both as a practical necessity and as a
symbol the most pregnant and profound, we are likely to witness in
architecture the development of the House of Light, particularly as
human ingenuity has made this increasingly practicable.

Glass is a product still undergoing development, as are also those
devices of metal for holding it in position and making the joints
weather tight. The accident and fire hazard has been largely overcome
by protecting the structural parts, by the use of wire glass, and
by other ingenious devices. The author has been informed on good
authority that shortly before the outbreak of the war a glass had been
invented abroad, and made commercially practicable, which shut out
the heat rays, but admitted the light. The use of this glass would
overcome the last difficulty--the equalization of temperatures--and
might easily result in buildings of an entirely novel type, the
approach to which is seen in the "pier and grill" style of exterior.
This is being adopted not only for commercial buildings, but for
others of widely different function, on account of its manifest
advantages. Cass Gilbert's admirable studio apartment at 200 West
Fifty-Seventh Street, New York, is a building of this type.

In this seeking for sunlight in our cities, we will come to live on
the roofs more and more--in summer in the free air, in winter under
variformed shelters of glass. This tendency is already manifesting
itself in those newest hotels whose roofs are gardens, convertible
into skating ponds, with glazed belvideres for eating in all weathers.
Nothing but ignorance and inanition stand in the way of utilization of
waste roof spaces. People have lived on the roofs in the past, often
enough, and will again.


By shouldering ever upward for air and light, we have too often
made of the "downtown" districts cliff-bound canyons--"granite deeps
opening into granite deeps." This has been the result of no inherent
necessity, but of that competitive greed whose nemesis is ever to
miss the very thing it seeks. By intelligent co-operation, backed
by legislation, the roads and sidewalks might be made to share the
sunlight with the roofs.

This could be achieved in two ways: by stepping back the façades
in successive stages--giving top lighting, terraces, and wonderful
incidental effects of light and shade--or by adjusting the height of
the buildings to the width of their interspaces, making rows of tall
buildings alternate with rows of low ones, with occasional fully
isolated "skyscrapers" giving variety to the sky-line.

These and similar problems of city planning have been worked out
theoretically with much minuteness of detail, and are known to every
student of the science of cities, but very little of it all has been
realized in a practical way--certainly not on this side of the water,
where individual rights are held so sacred that a property owner may
commit any kind of an architectural nuisance so long as he confines
it to his own front yard. The strength of IS, the weakness of _should
be_, conflicting interests and legislative cowardice are responsible
for the highly irrational manner in which our cities have grown great.

The search for spiritual light in the midst of materialism finds
unconscious symbolization in a way other than this seeking for the
sun. It is in the amazing development of artificial illumination. From
a purely utilitarian standpoint there is almost nothing that cannot
now be accomplished with light, short of making the ether itself
luminiferous. The æsthetic development of this field, however, can be
said to have scarcely begun. The so recent San Francisco Exposition
witnessed the first successful effort of any importance to enhance the
effect of architecture by artificial illumination, and to use colored
light with a view to its purely pictorial value. Though certain
buildings have since been illuminated with excellent effect, it
remains true that the corset, chewing-gum, beer and automobile
sky signs of our Great White Ways indicate the height to which our
imagination has risen in utilizing this Promethean gift in any but
necessary ways. Interior lighting, except negatively, has not been
dealt with from the standpoint of beauty, but of efficiency; the
engineer has preempted this field to the exclusion of the artist.

All this is the result of the atrophy of that faculty to worship and
wonder which alone induces the mood from which the creation of beauty
springs. Light we regard only as a convenience "to see things by"
instead of as the power and glory that it inherently is. Its intense
and potent vibrations and the rainbow glory of its colour beat at the
door of consciousness in vain. When we awaken to these things we shall
organize light into a language of spontaneous emotion, just as from
sound music was organized.

It is beside the purpose of this essay to attempt to trace the
evolution of this new art form, made possible by modern invention, to
indicate what phases it is likely to pass through on the way to what
perfections, but that it is bound to add a new glory to architecture
is sure. This will come about in two ways: directly, by giving color,
quality, subtlety to outdoor and indoor lighting, and indirectly by
educating the eye to color values, as the ear has been educated by
music; thus creating a need for more color everywhere.

As light is the visible symbol of an inner radiance, so is color the
sign manual of happiness, of joy. Our cities are so dun and drab in
their outward aspects, by reason of the weight of care that burdens
us down. We decry the happy irresponsibility of the savage, and the
patient contentment of the Oriental with his lot, but both are able
to achieve marvels of color in their environment beyond the compass
of civilized man. The glory of mediaeval cathedral windows is a still
living confutation of the belief that in those far-off times the human
heart was sad. Architecture is the index of the inner life of those
who produced it, and whenever it is colorful that inner life contains
an inner joy.

In the coming Golden Age life will be joyous, and if it is joyous,
colour will come into architecture again. Our psychological state even
now, alone prevents it, for we are rich in materials and methods to
make such polychromy possible. In an article in a recent number
of _The Architectural Record_, Mr. Leon V. Solon, writing from an
entirely different point of view, divines this tendency, and expresses
the opinion that color is again renascent. This tendency is so marked,
and this opinion is so shared that we may look with confidence toward
a color-evolution in architectural art.

The question of the character of what may be called the ornamental
mode of the architecture of the New Age is of all questions the most
obscure. Evolution along the lines of the already existent does not
help us here, for we are utterly without any ornamental mode from
which a new and better might conceivably evolve. Nothing so betrays
the spiritual bankruptcy of the end of the Iron Age as this.

The only light on this problem which we shall find, dwells in the
realm of metaphysics rather than in the world of material reality.
Ornament, more than any other element of architecture, is deeply
psychological, it is an externalization of an inner life. This is
so true that any time-worn fragment out of the past when art was
a language can usually be assigned to its place and its period, so
eloquent is it of a particular people and a particular time. Could we
therefore detect and understand the obscure movement of consciousness
in the modern world, we might gain some clue to the language it would
later find.

It is clear that consciousness is moving away from its absorption in
materiality because it is losing faith in materialism. Clairvoyance,
psychism, the recrudescence of mysticism, of occultism--these signs
of the times are straws which show which way the wind now sets, and
indicate that the modern mind is beginning to find itself at home in
what is called _the fourth dimension_. The phrase is used here in
a different sense from that in which the mathematician uses it, but
oddly enough four-dimensional geometry provides the symbols by
which some of these occult and mystical ideas may be realized by the
rational mind. One of the most engaging and inspiring of these
ideas is that the personal self is a _projection_ on the plane of
materiality of a metaphysical self, or soul, to which the personal
self is related as is the shadow of an object to the object
itself. Now this coincides remarkably with the idea implicit in all
higher-space speculation, that the figures of solid geometry
are projections on a space of three dimensions, of corresponding
four-dimensional forms.

All ornament is in its last analysis geometrical--sometimes directly
so, as in the system developed by the Moors. Will the psychology
of the new dispensation find expression through some adaptation of
four-dimensional geometry? The idea is far from absurd, by reason of
the decorative quality inherent in many of the regular hypersolids of
four-dimensional space when projected upon solid and plane space.

If this suggestion seems too fanciful, there is still recourse to the
law of analogy in finding the thing we seek. Every fresh religious
impulse has always developed a symbology through which its truths are
expressed and handed down. These symbols, woven into the very texture
of the life of the people, are embodied by them in their ornamental
mode. The sculpture of a Greek temple is a picture-book of Greek
religion; the ornamentation of a Gothic cathedral is a veritable bible
of the Christian faith. Almost all of the most beautiful and enduring
ornaments have first been sacred symbols; the swastika, the "Eye of
Buddha," the "Shield of David," the wheel, the lotus, and the cross.

Now that "twilight of the world" following the war perhaps will
witness an _Avatara_--the coming of a World-Teacher who will rebuild
on the one broad and ancient foundation that temple of Truth which
the folly and ignorance of man is ever tearing down. A material
counterpart of that temple will in that case afterward arise. Thus
will be born the architecture of the future; and the ornament of that
architecture will tell, in a new set of symbols, the story of the
rejuvenation of the world.

In this previsioning of architecture after the war, the author
must not be understood to mean that these things will be realized
_directly_ after. Architecture, from its very nature, is the most
sluggish of all the arts to respond to the natural magic of the
quick-moving mind--it is Caliban, not Ariel. Following the war the
nation will be for a time depleted of man-power, burdened with
debt, prostrate, exhausted. But in that time of reckoning will come
reflection, penitence.

            "And I'll be wise hereafter,
  And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
  Was I, to take this drunkard for a god,
  And worship this dull fool."

With some such epilogue the curtain will descend on the great drama
now approaching a close. It will be for the younger generations, the
reincarnate souls of those who fell in battle, to inaugurate the work
of giving expression, in deathless forms of art, to the vision of that
"fairer world" glimpsed now only as by lightning, in a dream.






No fact is better established than that we live in an _orderly_
universe. The truth of this the world-war may for the moment, and to
the near and narrow view appear to contradict, but the sweep of human
history, and the stars in their courses, show an orderliness which
cannot be gainsaid.

Now of that order, _number_--that is, mathematics--is the more than
symbol, it is the very thing itself. Whence this weltering tide of
life arose, and whither it flows, we know not; but that it is governed
by mathematical law all of our knowledge in every field confirms. Were
it not so, knowledge itself would be impossible. It is because man is
a counting animal that he is master over all the beasts of the earth.

Number is the tune to which all things move, and as it were make
music; it is in the pulses of the blood no less than in the starred
curtain of the sky. It is a necessary concomitant alike of the sharp
bargain, the chemical experiment, and the fine frenzy of the poet.
Music is number made audible; architecture is number made visible;
nature geometrizes not alone in her crystals, but in her most
intricate arabesques.

If number be indeed the universal solvent of all forms, sounds,
motions, may we not make of it the basis of a new æsthetic--a loom on
which to weave patterns the like of which the world has never seen? To
attempt such a thing--to base art on mathematics--argues (some one
is sure to say) an entire misconception of the nature and function of
art. "Art is a fountain of spontaneous emotion"--what, therefore,
can it have in common with the proverbially driest, least spontaneous
preoccupation of the human mind? But the above definition concludes
with the assertion that this emotion reaches the soul "through various
channels." The transit can be effected only through some sensuous
element, some language (in the largest sense), and into this the
element of number and form must inevitably enter--mathematics is
"there" and cannot be thought or argued away.


But to make mathematics, and not the emotion which it expresses, the
important thing, is not this to fall into the time-worn heresy of
art for art's sake, that is, art for form's sake--art for the sake of
mathematics? To this objection there is an answer, and as this answer
contains the crux of the whole matter, embraces the proposition by
which this thesis must stand or fall, it must be full and clear.

What is it, in the last analysis, that all art which is not
purely personal and episodical strives to express? Is it not the
_world-order_?--the very thing that religion, philosophy, science,
strive according to their different natures and methods to express?
The perception of the world-order by the artist arouses an emotion to
which he can give vent only in terms of number; but number is itself
the most abstract expression of the world order. The form and content
of art are therefore not different, but the same. A deep sense of this
probably inspired Pater's famous saying that all art aspires toward
the condition of music; for music, from its very nature, is the
world-order uttered in terms of number, in a sense and to a degree not
attained by any other art.

This is not mere verbal juggling. We have suffered so long from an
art-phase which exalts the personal, as opposed to the cosmic, that
we have lost sight of the fact that the great arts of antiquity,
preceding the Renaissance, insisted on the cosmic, or impersonal
aspect, and on this alone, just as does Oriental art, even today.
The secret essence, the archetypal idea of the subject is the
preoccupation of the Oriental artist, as it was of the Egyptian,
and of the Greek. We of the West today seek as eagerly to fix the
accidental and ephemeral aspect--the shadow of a particular cloud upon
a particular landscape; the smile on the face of a specific person, in
a recognizable room, at a particular moment of time. Of symbolic art,
of universal emotion expressing itself in terms which are universal,
we have very little to show.

The reason for this is first, our love for, and understanding of,
the concrete and personal: it is the _world-aspect_ and not the
_world-order_ which interests us; and second, the inadequacies of
current forms of art expression to render our sense of the eternal
secret heart of things as it presents itself to our young eyes.
Confronted with this difficulty, we have shirked it, and our ambition
has shrunk to the portrayal of those aspects which shuffle our poverty
out of sight. It is not a poverty of technique--we are dexterous
enough; nor is it a poverty of invention--we are clever enough; it is
the poverty of the spiritual bankrupt trying to divert attention by a
prodigal display of the smallest of small change.

Reference is made here only to the arts of space; the arts of
time--music, poetry, and the (written) drama--employing vehicles more
flexible, have been more fortunate, though they too suffer in some
degree from worshipping, instead of the god of order, the god of

The corrective of this is a return to first principles: principles so
fundamental that they suffer no change, however new and various their
illustrations. These principles are embodied in number, and one might
almost say nowhere else in such perfection. Mathematics is not the
dry and deadly thing that our teaching of it and the uses we put it
to have made it seem. Mathematics is the handwriting on the human
consciousness of the very Spirit of Life itself. Others before
Pythagoras discovered this, and it is the discovery which awaits us

To indicate the way in which mathematics might be made to yield the
elements of a new æsthetic is beyond the province of this essay, being
beyond the compass of its author, but he makes bold to take a single
phase: ornament, and to deal with it from this point of view.

The ornament now in common use has been gathered from the dust-bin
of the ages. What ornamental _motif_ of any universality, worth, or
importance is less than a hundred years old? We continue to use the
honeysuckle, the acanthus, the fret, the egg and dart, not because
they are appropriate to any use we put them to, but because they are
beautiful _per se_. Why are they beautiful? It is not because they
are highly conventionalized representations of natural forms which
are themselves beautiful, but because they express cosmic truths. The
honeysuckle and the acanthus leaf, for example, express the idea
of successive impulses, mounting, attaining a maximum, and
descending--expanding from some focus of force in the manner universal
throughout nature. Science recognizes in the spiral an archetypal
form, whether found in a whirlpool or in a nebula. A fret is a series
of highly conventionalized spirals: translate it from angular to
curved and we have the wave-band; isolate it and we have the volute.
Egg and dart are phallic emblems, female and male; or, if you prefer,
as ellipse and straight line, they are symbols of finite existence
contrasted with infinity. [Figure 1.]

[Illustration: Figure 1.]

Suppose that we determine to divest ourselves of these and other
precious inheritances, not because they have lost their beauty and
meaning, but rather on account of their manifold associations with a
past which the war makes suddenly more remote than slow centuries have
done; suppose that we determine to supplant these symbols with others
no less charged with beauty and meaning, but more directly drawn from
the inexhaustible well of mathematical truth--how shall we set to

We need not _set_ to work, because we have done that already, we are
always doing it, unknowingly, and without knowing the reason why. All
ornamentalists are subjective mathematicians--an amazing statement,
perhaps, but one susceptible of confirmation in countless amusing
ways, of which two will be shown.

[Illustration: Figure 2.]

Consider first your calendar--your calendar whose commonplace face,
having yielded you information as to pay day, due day, and holiday,
you obliterate at the end of each month without a qualm, oblivious to
the fact that were your interests less sordid and personal it would
speak to you of that order which pervades the universe; would make you
realize something of the music of the spheres. For on that familiar
checkerboard of the days are numerical arrangements which are
mysterious, "magical"; each separate number is as a spider at the
center of an amazing mathematical web. That is to say, every number
is discovered to be half of the sum of the pairs of numbers which
surround it, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally: all of the
pairs add to the same sum, and the central number divides this sum by
two. A graphic indication of this fact on the calendar face by means
of a system of intersecting lines yields that form of classic grille
dear to the heart of every tyro draughtsman. [Figure 2.] Here is
an evident relation between mathematical fact and ornamental mode,
whether the result of accident, or by reason of some subconscious
connection between the creative and the reasoning part of the mind.

To show, by means of an example other than this acrostic of the days,
how the pattern-making instinct follows unconsciously in the groove
traced out for it by mathematics, the attention of the reader is
directed to the design of the old Colonial bed-spread shown in Figure
3. Adjacent to this, in the upper right hand corner, is a magic
square of four. That is, all of the columns of figures of which it is
composed: vertical, horizontal and diagonal add to the same sum: 34.
An analysis of this square reveals the fact that it is made up of
the figures of two different orders of counting: the ordinary order,
beginning at the left hand upper corner and reading across and down in
the usual way, and the reverse-ordinary, beginning at the lower right
hand corner and reading across and up. The figures in the four central
cells and in the four outside corner cells are discovered to belong
in the first category, and the remaining figures in the second. Now
if the ordinary order cells be represented by white, and the reverse
ordinary by black, just such a pattern has been created as forms the
decorative motif of the quilt.

It may be claimed that these two examples of a relation between
ornament and mathematics are accidental and therefore prove nothing,
but they at least furnish a clue which the artist would be foolish not
to follow up. Let him attack his problem this time directly, and
see if number may not be made to yield the thing he seeks: namely,
space-rhythms which are beautiful and new.

We know that there is a beauty inherent in _order_, that necessity of
one sort or another is the parent of beauty. Beauty in architecture
is largely the result of structural necessity; beauty in ornament
may spring from a necessity which is numerical. It is clear that the
arrangement of numbers in a magic square is necessitous--they must be
placed in a certain way in order that the summation of every column
shall be the same. The problem then becomes to make that necessity
reveal itself to the eye. Now most magic squares contain a _magic
path_, discovered by following the numbers from cell to cell in
their natural order. Because this is a necessitous line it should not
surprise us that it is frequently beautiful as well.

[Illustration: Figure 3.]

The left hand drawing in Figure 4 represents the smallest aggregation
of numbers that is capable of magic square arrangement. Each vertical,
horizontal, and corner diagonal column adds up to 15, and the sum of
any two opposite numbers is 10, which is twice the center number. The
magic path is the endless line developed by following, free hand, the
numbers in their natural order, from 1 to 9 and back to 1 again. The
drawing at the right of Figure 4 is this same line translated into
ornament by making an interlace of it, and filling in the larger
interstices with simple floral forms. This has been executed in white
plaster and made to perform the function of a ventilating grille.

Now the number of magic squares is practically limitless, and while
all of them do not yield magic lines of the beauty of this one, some
contain even richer decorative possibilities. But there are also other
ways of deriving ornament from magic squares, already hinted at in the
discussion of the Colonial quilt.

[Illustration: Figure 4.]

[Illustration: Figure 5.]

Magic squares of an even number of cells are found sometimes to
consist of numbers arranged not only in combinations of the ordinary
and the reverse ordinary orders of counting, but involving two others
as well: the reverse of the ordinary (beginning at the upper right
hand, across, and down) and the reversed inverse, (beginning at the
lower left hand, across, and up). If, in such a magic square, a simple
graphic symbol be substituted for the numbers belonging to each order,
pattern spontaneously springs to life. Figures 5 and 6 exemplify the
method, and Figures 7 and 8 the translation of some of these squares
into richer patterns by elaborating the symbols while respecting their
arrangement. By only a slight stretch of the imagination the beautiful
pierced stone screen from Ravenna shown in Figure 9 might be conceived
of as having been developed according to this method, although of
course it was not so in fact. Some of the arrangements shown in Figure
6 are closely paralleled in the acoustic figures made by means of
musical tones with sand, on a sheet of metal or glass.

[Illustration: Figure 6.]

[Illustration: Figure 7.]

The celebrated Franklin square of 16 cells can be made to yield a
beautiful pattern by designating some of the lines which give the
summation of 2056 by different symbols, as shown in Figure 10. A free
translation of this design into pattern brickwork is indicated in
Figure 11.

If these processes seem unduly involved and elaborate for the
achievement of a simple result--like burning the house down in
order to get roast pig--there are other more simple ways of deriving
ornament from mathematics, for the truths of number find direct and
perfect expression in the figures of geometry. The squaring of
a number--the raising of it to its second power--finds graphic
expression in the plane figure of the square; and the cubing of a
number--the raising of it to its third power--in the solid figure
of the cube. Now squares and cubes have been recognized from time
immemorial as useful ornamental motifs. Other elementary geometrical
figures, making concrete to the eye the truths of abstract number, may
be dealt with by the designer in such a manner as to produce ornament
the most varied and profuse. Moorish ceilings, Gothic window tracery,
Grolier bindings, all indicate the richness of the field.

[Illustration: Figure 8.]


[Illustration: Figure 9.]

Suppose, for example, that we attempt to deal decoratively which such
simple figures as the three lowest Platonic solids--the tetrahedron,
the hexahedron, and the octahedron. [Figure 12.] Their projection on a
plane yields a rhythmical division of space, because of their inherent
symmetry. These projections would correspond to the network of lines
seen in looking through a glass paperweight of the given shape, the
lines being formed by the joining of the several faces. Figure 13
represents ornamental bands developed in this manner. The dodecahedron
and icosahedron, having more faces, yield more intricate patterns, and
there is no limit to the variety of interesting designs obtainable by
these direct and simple means.

[Illustration: Figure 10.]

If the author has been successful thus far in his exposition, it
should be sufficiently plain that from the inexhaustible well of
mathematics fresh beauty may be drawn. But what of its significance?
Ornament must _mean something_; it must have some relation to the
dominant ideation of the day; it must express the psychological mood.

What is the psychological mood? Ours is an age of transition; we live
in a changing world. On the one hand we witness the breaking up of
many an old thought crystal, on the other we feel the pressure of
those forces which shall create the new. What is nature's first
visible creative act? The formation of a geometrical crystal. The
artist should take this hint, and organize geometry into a new
ornamental mode; by so doing he will prove himself to be in relation
to the _anima mundi_. It is only by the establishment of such a
relation that new beauty comes to birth in the world.

[Illustration: Figure 11.]

Ornament in its primitive manifestations is geometrical rather than
naturalistic. This is in a manner strange, that the abstract and
metaphysical thing should precede the concrete and sensuous. It would
be natural to suppose that man would first imitate the things which
surround him, but the most cursory acquaintance with primitive art
shows that he is much more apt to crudely geometrize. Now it is
not necessary to assume that we are to revert to the conditions of
savagery in order to believe that in this matter of a sound æsthetic
we must begin where art has always begun--with number and geometry.
Nevertheless there is a subtly ironic view which one is justified in
holding in regard to quite obvious aspects of American life, in the
light of which that life appears to have rather more in common with
savagery than with culture.

[Illustration: Figure 12.]

[Illustration: Figure 13.]

The submersion of scholarship by athletics in our colleges is a case
in point, the contest of muscles exciting much more interest and
enthusiasm than any contest of wits. We persist in the savage habit of
devouring the corpses of slain animals long after the necessity for it
is past, and some even murder innocent wild creatures, giving to their
ferocity the name of sport. Our women bedeck themselves with furs and
feathers, the fruit of mercenary and systematic slaughter; we perform
orgiastic dances to the music of horns and drums and cymbals--in
short, we have the savage psychology without its vital religious
instinct and its sure decorative sense for color and form.

But this is of course true only of the surface and sunlit shadows of
the great democratic tide. Its depths conceal every kind of subtlety
and sophistication, high endeavour, and a response to beauty and
wisdom of a sort far removed from the amoeba stage of development
above sketched. Of this latter stage the simple figures of Euclidian
plane and solid geometry--figures which any child can understand--are
the appropriate symbols, but for that other more developed state of
consciousness--less apparent but more important--these will not do.
Something more sophisticated and recondite must be sought for if we
are to have an ornamental mode capable of expressing not only the
simplicity but the complexity of present-day psychology. This need not
be sought for outside the field of geometry, but within it, and by
an extension of the methods already described. There is an altogether
modern development of the science of mathematics: the geometry of
four dimensions. This represents the emancipation of the mind from
the tyranny of mere appearances; the turning of consciousness in a
new direction. It has therefore a high symbolical significance as
typifying that movement away from materialism which is so marked a
phenomenon of the times.

Of course to those whose notion of the fourth dimension is akin to
that of a friend of the author who described it as "a wagon-load
of bung-holes," the idea of getting from it any practical advantage
cannot seem anything but absurd. There is something about this form
of words "the fourth dimension" which seems to produce a sort of
mental-phobia in certain minds, rendering them incapable of perception
or reason. Such people, because they cannot stick their cane into it
contend that the fourth dimension has no mathematical or philosophical
validity. As ignorance on this subject is very general, the following
essay will be devoted to a consideration of the fourth dimension and
its relation to a new ornamental mode.




The subject of the fourth dimension is not an easy one to understand.
Fortunately the artist in design does not need to penetrate far into
these fascinating halls of thought in order to reap the advantage
which he seeks. Nevertheless an intention of mind upon this
"fairy-tale of mathematics" cannot fail to enlarge his intellectual
and spiritual horizons, and develop his imagination--that finest
instrument in all his chest of tools.

By way of introduction to the subject Prof. James Byrnie Shaw, in an
article in the _Scientific Monthly_, has this to say:

    Up to the period of the Reformation algebraic equations of
    more than the third degree were frowned upon as having no
    real meaning, since there is no fourth power or dimension.
    But about one hundred years ago this chimera became an actual
    existence, and today it is furnishing a new world to physics,
    in which mechanics may become geometry, time be co-ordinated
    with space, and every geometric theorem in the world is a
    physical theorem in the experimental world in study in the
    laboratory. Startling indeed it is to the scientist to be told
    that an artificial dream-world of the mathematician is
    more real than that he sees with his galvanometers,
    ultra-microscopes, and spectroscopes. It matters little that
    he replies, "Your four-dimensional world is only an analytic
    explanation of my phenomena," for the fact remains a fact,
    that in the mathematician's four-dimensional space there is
    a space not derived in any sense of the term as a residue of
    experience, however powerful a distillation of sensations or
    perceptions be resorted to, for it is not contained at all in
    the fluid that experience furnishes. It is a product of the
    creative power of the mathematical mind, and its objects are
    real in exactly the same way that the cube, the square, the
    circle, the sphere or the straight line. We are enabled to see
    with the penetrating vision of the mathematical insight that
    no less real and no more real are these fantastic forms of the
    world of relativity than those supposed to be uncreatable or
    indestructible in the play of the forces of nature.

These "fantastic forms" alone need concern the artist. If by some
potent magic he can precipitate them into the world of sensuous images
so that they make music to the eye, he need not even enter into the
question of their reality, but in order to achieve this transmutation
he should know something, at least, of the strange laws of their
being, should lend ear to a fairy-tale in which each theorem is a
paradox, and each paradox a mathematical fact.

He must conceive of a space of four mutually independent directions; a
space, that is, having a direction at right angles to every direction
that we know. We cannot point to this, we cannot picture it, but we
can reason about it with a precision that is all but absolute. In such
a space it would of course be possible to establish four axial lines,
all intersecting at a point, and all mutually at right angles with one
another. Every hyper-solid of four-dimensional space has these four

The regular hyper-solids (analogous to the Platonic solids of
three-dimensional space) are the "fantastic forms" which will prove
useful to the artist. He should learn to lure them forth along them
axis lines. That is, let him build up his figures, space by space,
developing them from lower spaces to higher. But since he cannot enter
the fourth dimension, and build them there, nor even the third--if he
confines himself to a sheet of paper--he must seek out some form of
_representation_ of the higher in the lower. This is a process with
which he is already acquainted, for he employs it every time he makes
a perspective drawing, which is the representation of a solid on
a plane. All that is required is an extension of the method: a
hyper-solid can be represented in a figure of three dimensions, and
this in turn can be projected on a plane. The achieved result will
constitute a perspective of a perspective--the representation of a

This may sound obscure to the uninitiated, and it is true that the
plane projection of some of the regular hyper-solids are staggeringly
intricate affairs, but the author is so sure that this matter lies so
well within the compass of the average non-mathematical mind that he
is willing to put his confidence to a practical test.

It is proposed to develop a representation of the tesseract or
hyper-cube on the paper of this page, that is, on a space of two
dimensions. Let us start as far back as we can: with a point.
This point, a, [Figure 14] is conceived to move in a direction w,
developing the line a b. This line next moves in a direction at right
angles to w, namely, x, a distance equal to its length, forming
the square a b c d. Now for the square to develop into a cube by a
movement into the third dimension it would have to move in a direction
at right angles to both w and x, that is, out of the plane of the
paper--away from it altogether, either up or down. This is not
possible, of course, but the third direction can be _represented_ on
the plane of the paper.


Let us represent it as diagonally downward toward the right, namely,
y. In the y direction, then, and at a distance equal to the length
of one of the sides of the square, another square is drawn, a'b'c'd',
representing the original square at the end of its movement into the
third dimension; and because in that movement the bounding points of
the square have traced out lines (edges), it is necessary to connect
the corresponding corners of the two squares by means of lines. This
completes the figure and achieves the representation of a cube on a
plane by a perfectly simple and familiar process. Its six faces
are easily identified by the eye, though only two of them appear as
squares owing to the exigencies of representation.

Now for a leap into the abyss, which won't be so terrifying, since
it involves no change of method. The cube must move into the fourth
dimension, developing there a hyper-cube. This is impossible, for
the reason the cube would have to move out of our space
altogether--three-dimensional space will not contain a hyper-cube. But
neither is the cube itself contained within the plane of the paper;
it is only there _represented_. The y direction had to be imagined and
then arbitrarily established; we can arbitrarily establish the fourth
direction in the same way. As this is at right angles to y, its
indication may be diagonally downward and to the left--the direction
z. As y is known to be at right angles both to w and to x, z is at
right angles to all three, and we have thus established the four
mutually perpendicular axes necessary to complete the figure.

The cube must now move in the z direction (the fourth dimension)
a distance equal to the length of one of its sides. Just as we did
previously in the case of the square, we draw the cube in its new
position (ABB'D'C'C) and also as before we connect each apex of the
first cube with the corresponding apex of the other, because each of
these points generates a line (an edge), each line a plane, and
each plane a solid. This is the tesseract or hyper-cube in plane
projection. It has the 16 points, 32 lines, and 8 cubes known to
compose the figure. These cubes occur in pairs, and may be readily

The tesseract as portrayed in A, Figure 14, is shown according to the
conventions of oblique, or two-point perspective; it can equally be
represented in a manner correspondent to parallel perspective. The
parallel perspective of a cube appears as a square inside another
square, with lines connecting the four vertices of the one with those
of the other. The third dimension (the one beyond the plane of the
paper) is here conceived of as being not beyond the boundaries of the
first square, but _within_ them. We may with equal propriety conceive
of the fourth dimension as a "beyond which is within." In that case
we would have a rendering of the tesseract as shown in B, Figure 14:
a cube within a cube, the space between the two being occupied by six
truncated pyramids, each representing a cube. The large outside cube
represents the original generating cube at the beginning of its motion
into the fourth dimension, and the small inside cube represents it at
the end of that motion.


These two projections of the tesseract upon plane space are not the
only ones possible, but they are typical. Some idea of the variety of
aspects may be gained by imagining how a nest of inter-related cubes
(made of wire, so as to interpenetrate), combined into a single
symmetrical figure of three-dimensional space, would appear
from several different directions. Each view would yield new
space-subdivisions, and all would be rhythmical--susceptible,
therefore, of translation into ornament. C and D represent such
translations of A and B.

In order to fix these unfamiliar ideas more firmly in the reader's
mind, let him submit himself to one more exercise of the creative
imagination, and construct, by a slightly different method, a
representation of a hexadecahedroid, or 16-hedroid, on a plane. This
regular solid of four-dimensional space consists of sixteen cells,
each a regular tetrahedron, thirty-two triangular faces, twenty-four
edges and eight vertices. It is the correlative of the octahedron of
three-dimensional space.

First it is necessary to establish our four axes, all mutually
at right angles. If we draw three lines intersecting at a point,
subtending angles of 60 degrees each, it is not difficult to
conceive of these lines as being at right angles with one another
in three-dimensional space. The fourth axis we will assume to pass
vertically through the point of intersection of the three lines,
so that we see it only in cross-section, that is, as a point. It is
important to remember that all of the angles made by the four axes
are right angles--a thing possible only in a space of four dimensions.
Because the 16-hedroid is a symmetrical hyper-solid all of its
eight apexes will be equidistant from the centre of a containing
hyper-sphere, whose "surface" these will intersect at symmetrically
disposed points. These apexes are established in our representation by
describing a circle--the plane projection of the hyper-sphere--about
the central point of intersection of the axes. (Figure 15, left.)
Where each of these intersects the circle an apex of the 16-hedroid
will be established. From each apex it is now necessary to draw
straight lines to every other, each line representing one edge of the
sixteen tetrahedral cells. But because the two ends of the fourth axis
are directly opposite one another, and opposite the point of sight,
all of these lines fail to appear in the left hand diagram. It
therefore becomes necessary to _tilt_ the figure slightly, bringing
into view the fourth axis, much foreshortened, and with it, all of the
lines which make up the figure. The result is that projection of the
16-hedroid shown at the right of Figure 15.[2] Here is no fortuitous
arrangement of lines and areas, but the "shadow" cast by an
archetypal, figure of higher space upon the plane of our materiality.
It is a wonder, a mystery, staggering to the imagination,
contradictory to experience, but as well entitled to a place at the
high court of reason as are any of the more familiar figures with
which geometry deals. Translated into ornament it produces such an
all-over pattern as is shown in Figure 16 and the design which adorns
the curtains at right and left of pl. XIII. There are also other
interesting projections of the 16-hedroid which need not be gone into


For if the author has been successful in his exposition up to
this point, it should be sufficiently plain that the geometry
of four-dimensions is capable of yielding fresh and interesting
ornamental motifs. In carrying his demonstration farther, and in
multiplying illustrations, he would only be going over ground already
covered in his book _Projective Ornament_ and in his second Scammon

Of course this elaborate mechanism for producing quite obvious and
even ordinary decorative motifs may appear to some readers like
Goldberg's nightmare mechanics, wherein the most absurd and intricate
devices are made to accomplish the most simple ends. The author is
undisturbed by such criticisms. If the designs dealt with in this
chapter are "obvious and even ordinary" they are so for the reason
that they were chosen less with an eye to their interest and beauty
than as lending themselves to development and demonstration by an
orderly process which should not put too great a tax upon the patience
and intelligence of the reader. Four-dimensional geometry yields
numberless other patterns whose beauty and interest could not possibly
be impeached--patterns beyond the compass of the cleverest designer
unacquainted with projective geometry.

[Illustration: Figure 16.]

The great need of the ornamentalist is this or some other solid
foundation. Lacking it, he has been forced to build either on the
shifting sands of his own fancy, or on the wrecks and sediment of the
past. Geometry provides this sure foundation. We may have to work hard
and dig deep, but the results will be worth the effort, for only on
such a foundation can arise a temple which is beautiful and strong.

In confirmation of his general contention that the basis of all
effective decoration is geometry and number, the author, in closing,
desires to direct the reader's attention to Figure 17 a slightly
modified rendering of the famous zodiacal ceiling of the Temple of
Denderah, in Egypt. A sun and its corona have been substituted for the
zodiacal signs and symbols which fill the centre of the original, for
except to an Egyptologist these are meaningless. In all essentials the
drawing faithfully follows the original--was traced, indeed, from a
measured drawing.


Here is one of the most magnificent decorative schemes in the whole
world, arranged with a feeling for balance and rhythm exceeding the
power of the modern artist, and executed with a mastery beyond the
compass of a modern craftsman. The fact that first forces itself upon
the beholder is that the thing is so obviously mathematical in its
rhythms, that to reduce it to terms of geometry and number is a matter
of small difficulty. Compare the frozen music of these rhymed and
linked figures with the herded, confused, and cluttered compositions
of even our best decorative artists, and argument becomes
unnecessary--the fact stands forth that we have lost something
precious and vital out of art of which the ancients possessed the

It is for the restoration of these ancient verities and the discovery
of new spatial rhythms--made possible by the advance of mathematical
science--that the author pleads. Artists, architects, designers,
instead of chewing the cud of current fashion, come into these
pastures new!


[Footnote 1: The eight cubes in A, Figure 14, are as follows:
abb'd'c'c; ABB'D'C'C; abdDCA; a'b'd'D'C'A'; abb'B'A'A; cdd'D'C'C;
bb'd'D'DB; aa'c'C'CA.]

[Footnote 2: The sixteen cells of the hexadehahedroid are as follows:
A'B'C'D: ABC'D': A'B'CD: A'BC'D: AB'CD': A'BCD': AB'C'D.]


Reference was made in an antecedent essay to an art of light--of
mobile color--an abstract language of thought and emotion which should
speak to consciousness through the eye, as music speaks through the
ear. This is an art unborn, though quickening in the womb of the
future. The things that reflect light have been organized æsthetically
into the arts of architecture, painting, and sculpture, but light
itself has never been thus organized.

And yet the scientific development and control of light has reached a
stage which makes this new art possible. It awaits only the advent of
the creative artist. The manipulation of light is now in the hands
of the illuminating engineers and its exploitation (in other than
necessary ways) in the hands of the advertisers.

Some results of their collaboration are seen in the sky signs of upper
Broadway, in New York, and of the lake front, in Chicago. A carnival
of contending vulgarities, showing no artistry other than the most
puerile, these displays nevertheless yield an effect of amazing
beauty. This is on account of an occult property inherent in the
nature of light--_it cannot be vulgarized_. If the manipulation of
light were delivered into the hands of the artist, and dedicated
to noble ends, it is impossible to overestimate the augmentation of
beauty that would ensue.

For light is a far more potent medium than sound. The sphere of sound
is the earth-sphere; the little limits of our atmosphere mark the
uttermost boundaries to which sound, even the most strident can
possibly prevail. But the medium of light is the ether, which links
us with the most distant stars. May not this serve as a symbol of the
potency of light to usher the human spirit into realms of being at the
doors of which music itself shall beat in vain? Or if we compare the
universe accessible to sight with that accessible to sound--the
plight of the blind in contrast to that of the deaf--there is the same
discrepancy; the field of the eye is immensely richer, more various
and more interesting than that of the ear.

The difficulty appears to consist in the inferior impressionability
of the eye to its particular order of beauty. To the average man
color--as color--has nothing significant to say: to him grass is
green, snow is white, the sky blue; and to have his attention drawn to
the fact that sometimes grass is yellow, snow blue, and the sky green,
is disconcerting rather than illuminating. It is only when his retina
is assaulted by some splendid sunset or sky-encircling rainbow that
he is able to disassociate the idea of color from that of form and
substance. Even the artist is at a disadvantage in this respect, when
compared with the musician. Nothing in color knowledge and analysis
analogous to the established laws of musical harmony is part of the
equipment of the average artist; he plays, as it were, by ear. The
scientist, on the other hand, though he may know the spectrum from
end to end, and its innumerable modifications, values this "rainbow
promise of the Lord" not for its own beautiful sake but as a means
to other ends than those of beauty. But just as the art of music
has developed the ear into a fine and sensitive instrument of
appreciation, so an analogous art of light would educate the eye to
nuances of color to which it is now blind.


It is interesting to speculate as to the particular form in which this
new art will manifest itself. The question is perhaps already answered
in the "color organ," the earliest of which was Bambridge Bishop's,
exhibited at the old Barnum's Museum--before the days of electric
light--and the latest A.W. Rimington's. Both of these instruments were
built upon a supposed correspondence between a given scale of colors,
and the musical chromatic scale; they were played from a musical score
upon an organ keyboard. This is sufficiently easy and sufficiently
obvious, and has been done, with varying success in one way or
another, time and again, but its very ease and obviousness should give
us pause.

It may well be questioned whether any arbitrary and literal
translation, even though practicable, of a highly complex, intensely
mobile art, unfolding in time, as does music, into a correspondent
light and color expression, is the best approach to a new art of
mobile color. There is a deep and abiding conviction, justified by the
history of æsthetics, that each art-form must progress from its
own beginnings and unfold in its own unique and characteristic way.
Correspondences between the arts--such a correspondence, for
example, as inspired the famous saying that architecture is frozen
music--reveal themselves usually only after the sister arts have
attained an independent maturity. They owe their origin to that
underlying unity upon which our various modes of sensuous perception
act as a refracting medium, and must therefore be taken for granted.
Each art, like each individual, is unique and singular; in this
singularity dwells its most thrilling appeal. We are likely to miss
light's crowning glory, and the rainbow's most moving message to the
soul if we preoccupy ourselves too exclusively with the identities
existing between music and color; it is rather their points of
difference which should first be dwelt upon.

Let us accordingly consider the characteristic differences between
the two sense-categories to which sound and light--music and
color--respectively belong. This resolves itself into a comparison
between time and space. The characteristic thing about time is
succession--hence the very idea of music, which is in time, involves
perpetual change. The characteristic of space, on the other hand, is
simultaneousness--in space alone perpetual immobility would reign.
That is why architecture, which is pre-eminently the art of space, is
of all the arts the most static. Light and color are essentially
of space, and therefore an art of mobile colour should never lack a
certain serenity and repose. A "tune" played on a color organ is only
distressing. If there is a workable correspondence between the musical
art and an art of mobile color, it will be found in the domain of
harmony which involves the idea of simultaneity, rather than in
melody, which is pure succession. This fundamental difference between
time and space cannot be over-emphasized. A musical note prolonged,
becomes at last scarcely tolerable; while a beautiful color, like the
blue of the sky, we can enjoy all day and every day. The changing hues
of a sunset, are _andante_ if referred to a musical standard, but to
the eye they are _allegretto_--we would have them pass less swiftly
than they do. The winking, chasing, changing lights of illuminated
sky-signs are only annoying, and for the same reason. The eye longs
for repose in some serene radiance or stately sequence, while the ear
delights in contrast and continual change. It may be that as the eye
becomes more educated it will demand more movement and complexity, but
a certain stillness and serenity are of the very nature of light,
as movement and passion are of the very nature of sound. Music is a
seeking--"love in search of a word"; light is a finding--a "divine

With attention still focussed on the differences rather than the
similarities between the musical art and a new art of mobile color,
we come next to the consideration of the matter of form. Now form
is essentially of space: we speak about the "form" of a musical
composition, but it is in a more or less figurative and metaphysical
sense, not as a thing concrete and palpable, like the forms of space.
It would be foolish to forego the advantage of linking up form with
colour, as there is opportunity to do. Here is another golden ball to
juggle with, one which no art purely in time affords. Of course it is
known that musical sounds weave invisible patterns in the air, and to
render these patterns perceptible to the eye may be one of the more
remote and recondite achievements of our uncreated art. Meantime,
though we have the whole treasury of natural forms to draw from, of
these we can only properly employ such as are _abstract_. The reason
for this is clear to any one who conceives of an art of mobile color,
not as a moving picture show--a thing of quick-passing concrete
images, to shock, to startle, or to charm--but as a rich and various
language in which light, proverbially the symbol of the spirit, is
made to speak, through the senses, some healing message to the soul.
For such a consummation, "devoutly to be wished," natural forms--forms
abounding in every kind of association with that world of materiality
from which we would escape--are out of place; recourse must be had
rather to abstract forms, that is, geometrical figures. And because
the more remote these are from the things of sense, from knowledge and
experience, the projected figures of four-dimensional geometry would
lend themselves to these uses with an especial grace. Color without
form is as a soul without a body; yet the body of light must be
without any taint of materiality. Four-dimensional forms are as
immaterial as anything that could be imagined and they could be made
to serve the useful purpose of separating colors one from another,
as lead lines do in old cathedral windows, than which nothing more
beautiful has ever been devised.

Coming now to the consideration, not of differences, but similarities,
it is clear that a correspondence can be established between the
colors of the spectrum and the notes of a musical scale. That is,
the spectrum, considered as the analogue of a musical octave can
be subdivided into twelve colors which may be representative of
the musical chromatic scale of twelve semi-tones: the very word,
_chromatic_, being suggestive of such a correspondence between sound
and light. The red end of the spectrum would naturally relate to the
low notes of the musical scale, and the violet end to the high, by
reason of the relative rapidity of vibration in each case; for the
octave of a musical note sets the air vibrating twice as rapidly as
does the note itself, and roughly speaking, the same is true of the
end colors of the spectrum with relation to the ether.

But assuming that a color scale can be established which would yield
a color correlative to any musical note or chord, there still remains
the matter of _values_ to be dealt with. In the musical scale there is
a practical equality of values: one note is as potent as another. In
a color scale, on the other hand, each note (taken at its greatest
intensity) has a positive value of its own, and they are all
different. These values have no musical correlatives, they belong to
color _per se_. Every colorist knows that the whole secret of beauty
and brilliance dwells in a proper understanding and adjustment of
values, and music is powerless to help him here. Let us therefore
defer the discussion of this musical parallel, which is full of
pitfalls, until we have made some examination into such simple
emotional reactions as color can be discovered to yield. The musical
art began from the emotional response to certain simple tones and
combinations, and the delight of the ear in their repetition and

On account of our undeveloped sensitivity, the emotional reactions
to color are found to be largely personal and whimsical: one person
"loves" pink, another purple, or green. Color therapeutics is too
new a thing to be relied upon for data, for even though colors
are susceptible of classification as sedative, recuperative and
stimulating, no two classifications arrived at independently would be
likely to correspond. Most people appear to prefer bright, pure
colors when presented to them in small areas, red and blue being
the favourites. Certain data have been accumulated regarding the
physiological effect and psychological value of different colors, but
this order of research is in its infancy, and we shall have recourse,
therefore, to theory, in the absence of any safer guide.

One of the theories which may be said to have justified itself in
practice in a different field is that upon which is based Delsarte's
famous art of expression. It has schooled some of the finest actors
in the world, and raised others from mediocrity to distinction. The
Delsarte system is founded upon the idea that man is a triplicity of
physical, emotional, and intellectual qualities or attributes, and
that the entire body and every part thereof conforms to, and expresses
this triplicity. The generative and digestive region corresponds with
the physical nature, the breast with the emotional, and the head
with the intellectual; "below" represents the nadir of ignorance and
dejection, "above" the zenith of wisdom and spiritual power.
This seems a natural, and not an arbitrary classification, having
interesting confirmations and correspondencies, both in the outer
world of form, and in the inner world of consciousness. Moreover, it
is in accord with that theosophic scheme derived from the ancient and
august wisdom of the East, which longer and better than any other
has withstood the obliterating action of slow time, and is even now
renascent. Let us therefore attempt to classify the colors of the
spectrum according to this theory, and discover if we can how nearly
such a classification is conformable to reason and experience.

The red end of the spectrum, being lowest in vibratory rate, would
correspond to the physical nature, proverbially more sluggish than the
emotional and mental. The phrase "like a red rag to a bull," suggests
a relation between the color red and the animal consciousness
established by observation. The "low-brow" is the dear lover of the
red necktie; the "high-brow" is he who sees violet shadows on the
snow. We "see red" when we are dominated by ignoble passion. Though
the color green is associated with the idea of jealousy, it is
associated also with the idea of sympathy, and jealousy in the last
analysis is the fear of the loss of sympathy; it belongs, at all
events to the mediant, or emotional group of colors; while blue and
violet are proverbially intellectual and spiritual colors, and
their place in the spectrum therefore conforms to the demands of our
theoretical division. Here, then, is something reasonably certain,
certainly reasonable, and may serve as an hypothesis to be confirmed
or confuted by subsequent research. Coming now finally to the
consideration of the musical parallel, let us divide a color scale of
twelve steps or semi-tones into three groups; each group, graphically
portrayed, subtending one-third of the arc of a circle. The first or
red group will be related to the physical nature, and will consist of
purple-red, red, red-orange, and orange. The second, or green group
will be related to the emotional nature, and will consist of yellow,
yellow-green, green, and green-blue. The third, or blue group will be
related to the intellectual and spiritual nature, and will consist
of blue, blue-violet, violet and purple. The merging of purple into
purple-red will then correspond to the meeting place of the
highest with the lowest, "spirit" and "matter." We conceive of this
meeting-place symbolically as the "heart"--the vital centre. Now
"sanguine" is the appropriate name associated with the color of
the blood--a color between purple and purple-red. It is logical,
therefore, to regard this point in our color-scale as its
tonic--"middle C"--though each color, just as in music each note, is
itself the tonic of a scale of its own.

Mr. Louis Wilson--the author of the above "ophthalmic color scale"
makes the same affiliation between sanguine, or blood color, and
middle C, led thereto by scientific reasons entirely unassociated with
symbolism. He has omitted orange-yellow and violet-purple; this
makes the scale conform more exactly with the diatonic scale of
two tetra-chords; it also gives a greater range of purples, a color
indispensable to the artist. Moreover, in the scale as it stands, each
color is exactly opposite its true spectral complementary.

The color scale being thus established and broadly divided, the next
step is to find how well it justifies itself in practice. The most
direct way would be to translate the musical chords recognized and
dealt with in the science of harmony into their corresponding color

For the benefit of such readers as have no knowledge of musical
harmony it should be said that the entire science of harmony is based
upon the _triad_, or chord of three notes, and that there are various
kinds of triads: the major, the minor, the augmented, the diminished,
and the altered. The major triad consists of the first note of the
diatonic scale, or tonic; its third, and its fifth. The minor triad
differs from the major only in that the second member is lowered a
semi-tone. The augmented triad differs from the major only in that the
third member is raised a semi-tone. The diminished triad differs from
the minor only in that the third member is lowered a semi-tone. The
altered triad is a chord different by a semi-tone from any of the

The major triad in color is formed by taking any one of the twelve
color-centers of the ophthalmic color scale as the first member of
the triad; and, reading up the scale, the fifth step (each step
representing a semi-tone) determines the second member, while the
third member is found in the eighth step. The minor triad in color is
formed by lowering the second member of the major triad one step; the
augmented triad by raising the third member of the major triad one
step, and the diminished triad by lowering the third member of the
minor triad one step.


These various triads are shown graphically in Figure 18 as
triangles within a circle divided into twelve equal parts, each part
representing a semi-tone of the chromatic scale. It is seen at a
glance that in every case each triad has one of its notes (an apex) in
or immediately adjacent to a different one of the grand divisions of
the colour scale hereinbefore established and described, and that the
same thing would be true in any "key": that is, by any variation of
the point of departure.

This certainly satisfies the mind in that it suggests variety in
unity, balance, completeness, and in the actual portrayal, in color,
of these chords in any "key" this judgment is confirmed by the eye,
provided that the colors have been thrown into proper _harmonic
suppression_. By this is meant such an adjustment of relative values,
or such an establishment of relative proportions as will produce the
maximum of beauty of which any given combination is capable. This
matter imperatively demands an æsthetic sense the most sensitive.

So this "musical parallel," interesting and reasonable as it is, will
not carry the color harmonist very far, and if followed too literally
it is even likely to hamper him in the higher reaches of his art,
for some of the musical dissonances are of great beauty in color
translation. All that can safely be said in regard to the musical
parallel in its present stage of development is that it simplifies and
systematizes color knowledge and experiment and to a beginner it is
highly educational.

If we are to have color symphonies, the best are not likely to be
those based on a literal translation of some musical masterpiece into
color according to this or any theory, but those created by persons
who are emotionally reactive to this medium, able to imagine in color,
and to treat it imaginatively. The most beautiful mobile color effects
yet witnessed by the author were produced on a field only five inches
square, by an eminent painter quite ignorant of music; while some of
the most unimpressive have been the result of a rigid adherence to the
musical parallel by persons intent on cutting, with this sword, this
Gordian knot.

Into the subject of means and methods it is not proposed to enter, nor
to attempt to answer such questions as to whether the light shall be
direct or projected; whether the spectator, wrapped in darkness, shall
watch the music unfold at the end of some mysterious vista, or
whether his whole organism shall be played upon by powerful waves
of multi-coloured light. These coupled alternatives are not mutually
exclusive, any more than the idea of an orchestra is exclusive of that
of a single human voice.

In imagining an art of mobile color unconditioned by considerations
of mechanical difficulty or of expense, ideas multiply in truly
bewildering profusion. Sunsets, solar coronas, star spectra, auroras
such as were never seen on sea or land; rainbows, bubbles, rippling
water; flaming volcanoes, lava streams of living light--these and a
hundred other enthralling and perfectly realizable effects suggest
themselves. What Israfil of the future will pour on mortals this new
"music of the spheres"?



Due tribute has been paid to Mr. Louis Sullivan as an architect in
the first essay of this volume. That aspect of his genius has been
critically dealt with by many, but as an author he is scarcely
known. Yet there are Sibylline leaves of his, still let us hope in
circulation, which have wielded a potent influence on the minds of a
generation of men now passing to maturity. It is in the hope that his
message may not be lost to the youth of today and of tomorrow that the
present author now undertakes to summarize and interpret that message
to a public to which Mr. Sullivan is indeed a name, but not a voice.

That he is not a voice can be attributed neither to his lack of
eloquence--for he is eloquent--nor to the indifference of the younger
generation of architects which has grown up since he has ceased,
in any public way, to speak. It is due rather to a curious fatality
whereby his memorabilia have been confined to sheets which the
winds of time have scattered--pamphlets, ephemeral magazines, trade
journals--never the bound volume which alone guards the sacred flame
from the gusts of evil chance.

And Mr. Sullivan's is a "sacred flame," because it was kindled solely
with the idea of service--a beacon to keep young men from
shipwreck traversing those straits made dangerous by the Scylla of
Conventionality, and the Charybdis of License. The labour his writing
cost him was enormous. "I shall never again make so great a sacrifice
for the younger generation," he says in a letter, "I am amazed to
note how insignificant, how almost nil is the effect produced, in
comparison to the cost, in vitality to me. Or perhaps it is I who
am in error. Perhaps one must have reached middle age, or the Indian
Summer of life, must have seen much, heard much, felt and produced
much and been much in solitude to receive in reading what I gave in
writing 'with hands overfull.'"

This was written with reference to _Kindergarten Chats. A sketch
Analysis of Contemporaneous American Architecture_, which constitutes
Mr. Sullivan's most extended and characteristic preachment to the
young men of his day. It appeared in 1901, in fifty-two consecutive
numbers of _The Interstate Architect and Builder_, a magazine now
no longer published. In it the author, as mentor, leads an imaginary
disciple up and down the land, pointing out to him the "bold,
upholsterrific blunders" to be found in the architecture of the day,
and commenting on them in a caustic, colloquial style--large, loose,
discursive--a blend of Ruskin, Carlyle and Whitman, yet all Mr.
Sullivan's own. He descends, at times, almost to ribaldry, at others
he rises to poetic and prophetic heights. This is all a part of his
method alternately to shame and inspire his pupil to some sort of
creative activity. The syllabus of Mr. Sullivan's scheme, as it
existed in his mind during the writing of _Kindergarten Chats_,
and outlined by him in a letter to the author is such a torch of
illumination that it is quoted here entire.

    A young man who has "finished his education" at the
    architectural schools comes to me for a post-graduate
    course--hence a free form of dialogue.

    I proceed with his education rather by indirection and
    suggestion than by direct precept. I subject him to certain
    experiences and allow the impressions they make on him to
    infiltrate, and, as I note the effect, I gradually use a
    guiding hand. I supply the yeast, so to speak, and allow the
    ferment to work in him.

    This is the gist of the whole scheme. It remains then to
    determine, carefully, the kind of experiences to which I shall
    subject the lad, and in what order, or logical (and especially
    psychological) sequence. I begin, then, with aspects that
    are literal, objective, more or less cynical, and brutal, and
    philistine. A little at a time I introduce the subjective,
    the refined, the altruistic; and, by a to-and-fro increasingly
    intense rhythm of these two opposing themes, worked so to
    speak in counterpoint, I reach a preliminary climax: of
    brutality tempered by a longing for nobler, purer things.

    Hence arise a purblind revulsion and yearning in the lad's
    soul; the psychological moment has arrived, and I take him
    at once into the _country_--(Summer: The Storm). This is the
    first of the four out-of-door scenes, and the lad's first
    real experience with nature. It impresses him crudely but
    violently; and in the tense excitement of the tempest he is
    inspired to temporary eloquence; and at the close is much
    softened. He feels in a way but does not know that he has been
    a participant in one of Nature's superb dramas. (Thus do
    I insidiously prepare the way for the notion that creative
    architecture is in essence a dramatic art, and an art of
    eloquence; of subtle rhythmic beauty, power, and tenderness).

    Left alone in the country the lad becomes maudlin--a callow
    lover of nature--and makes feeble attempts at verse. Returning
    to the city he melts and unbosoms--the tender shaft of the
    unknowable Eros has penetrated to his heart--Nature's subtle
    spell is on him, to disappear and reappear. Then follow
    discussions, more or less didactic, leading to the second
    out-of-door scene (Autumn Glory). Here the lad does most of
    the talking and shows a certain lucidity and calm of mind. The
    discussion of Responsibility, Democracy, Education, etc., has
    inevitably detached the lurking spirit of pessimism. It has
    to be:--Into the depths and darkness we descend, and the
    work reaches the tragic climax in the third out-of-door

    Now that the forces have been gathered and marshalled the
    true, sane movement of the work is entered upon and pushed
    at high tension, and with swift, copious modulations to its
    foreordained climax and optimistic peroration in the fourth
    and last out-of-door scene as portrayed in the Spring Song.
    The _locale_ of this closing number is the beautiful spot in
    the woods, on the shore of Biloxi Bay:--where I am writing

    I would suggest in passing that a considerable part of the
    K.C. is in rhythmic prose--some of it declamatory. I have
    endeavoured throughout this work to represent, or reproduce
    to the mind and heart of the reader the spoken word and
    intonation--not written language. It really should be read
    aloud, especially the descriptive and exalted passages.

There was a movement once on the part of Mr. Sullivan's admirers to
issue _Kindergarten Chats_ in book form, but he was asked to tone it
down and expurgate it, a thing which he very naturally refused to do.
Mr. Sullivan has always been completely alive to our cowardice when
it comes to hearing the truth about ourselves, and alive to the danger
which this cowardice entails, for to his imaginary pupil he says,

    If you wish to read the current architecture of your country,
    you must go at it courageously, and not pick out merely the
    little bits that please you. I am going to soak you with it
    until you are absolutely nauseated, and your faculties turn
    in rebellion. I may be a hard taskmaster, but I strive to be
    a good one. When I am through with you, you will know
    architecture from the ground up. You will know its virtuous
    reality and you will know the fake and the fraud and the
    humbug. I will spare nothing--for your sake. I will stir up
    the cesspool to its utmost depths of stench, and also the
    pious, hypocritical virtues of our so-called architecture--the
    nice, good, mealy-mouthed, suave, dexterous, diplomatic
    architecture, I will show you also the kind of architecture
    our "cultured" people believe in. And why do they believe in
    it? Because they do not believe in themselves.

_Kindergarten Chats_ is even more pertinent and pointed today than it
was some twenty years ago, when it was written. Speech that is full of
truth is timeless, and therefore prophetic. Mr. Sullivan forecast some
of the very evils by which we have been overtaken. He was able to do
this on account of the fundamental soundness of his point of view,
which finds expression in the following words: "Once you learn to look
upon architecture not merely as an art more or less well, or more or
less badly done, but as a _social manifestation_, the critical eye
becomes clairvoyant, and obscure, unnoted phenomena become illumined."

Looking, from this point of view, at the office buildings that the
then newly-realized possibilities of steel construction were sending
skyward along lower Broadway, in New York, Mr. Sullivan reads in them
a denial of democracy. To him they signify much more than they seem
to, or mean to; they are more than the betrayal of architectural
ignorance and mendacity, they are symptomatic of forces undermining
American life.

    These buildings, as they increase in number, make this city
    poorer, morally and spiritually; they drag it down and down
    into the mire. This is not American civilization; it is the
    rottenness of Gomorrah. This is not Democracy--it is savagery.
    It shows the glutton hunt for the Dollar with no thought for
    aught else under the sun or over the earth. It is decadence of
    the spirit in its most revolting form; it is rottenness of
    the heart and corruption of the mind. So truly does this
    architecture reflect the causes which have brought it into
    being. Such structures are _profoundly anti-social_, and as
    such, they must be reckoned with. These buildings are not
    architecture, but outlawry, and their authors criminals in the
    true sense of the word. And such is the architecture of lower
    New York--hopeless, degraded, and putrid in its pessimistic
    denial of our art, and of our growing civilization--its
    cynical contempt for all those qualities that real humans

We have always been very glib about democracy; we have assumed that
this country was a democracy because we named it so. But now that
we are called upon to die for the idea, we find that we have never
realized it anywhere except perhaps in our secret hearts. In the life
of Abraham Lincoln, in the poetry of Walt Whitman, in the architecture
of Louis Sullivan, the spirit of democracy found utterance, and to
the extent that we ourselves partake of that spirit, it will find
utterance also in us. Mr. Sullivan is a "prophet of democracy" not
alone in his buildings but in his writings, and the prophetic note is
sounded even more clearly in his _What is Architecture? A Study in the
American People of Today_, than in _Kindergarten Chats_.

This essay was first printed in _The American Contractor_ of January
6, 1906, and afterwards issued in brochure form. The author starts
by tracing architecture to its root in the human mind: this physical
thing is the manifestation of a psychological state. As a man thinks,
so he is; he acts according to his thought, and if that act takes the
form of a building it is an emanation of his inmost life, and reveals

    Everything is there for us to read, to interpret; and this
    we may do at our leisure. The building has not means of
    locomotion, it cannot hide itself, it cannot get away. There
    it is, and there it will stay--telling more truths about him
    who made it, than he in his fatuity imagines; revealing his
    mind and his heart exactly for what they are worth, not a whit
    more, not a whit less; telling plainly the lies he thinks;
    telling with almost cruel truthfulness his bad faith, his
    feeble, wabbly mind, his impudence, his selfish egoism, his
    mental irresponsibility, his apathy, his disdain for real
    things--until at last the building says to us: "I am no more a
    real building than the thing that made me is a real man!"

Language like this stings and burns, but it is just such as is
needful to shame us out of our comfortable apathy, to arouse us to
new responsibilities, new opportunities. Mr. Sullivan, awake among
the sleepers, drenches us with bucketfuls of cold, tonic, energizing
truth. The poppy and mandragora of the past, of Europe, poisons us,
but in this, our hour of battle, we must not be permitted to dream on.
He saw, from far back, that "we, as a people, not only have betrayed
each other, but have failed in that trust which the world spirit of
democracy placed in our hands, as we, a new people, emerged to fill
a new and spacious land." It has taken a world war to make us see the
situation as he saw it, and it is to us, a militant nation, and not
to the slothful civilians a decade ago, that Mr. Sullivan's stirring
message seems to be addressed.

The following quotation is his first crack of the whip at the
architectural schools. The problem of education is to him of all
things the most vital; in this essay he returns to it again and again,
while of _Kindergarten Chats_ it is the very _raison d'être_.

    I trust that a long disquisition is not necessary in order to
    show that the attempt at imitation, by us, of this day, of the
    by-gone forms of building, is a procedure unworthy of a free
    people; and that the dictum of the schools, that Architecture
    is finished and done, is a suggestion humiliating to every
    active brain, and therefore, in fact, a puerility and a
    falsehood when weighed in the scales of truly democratic
    thought. Such dictum gives the lie in arrogant fashion, to
    healthful human experience. It says, in a word: the American
    people are not fit for democracy.

He finds the schools saturated with superstitions which are the
survivals of the scholasticism of past centuries--feudal institutions,
in effect, inimical to his idea of the true spirit of democratic
education. This he conceives of as a searching-out, liberating, and
developing the splendid but obscured powers of the average man, and
particularly those of children. "It is disquieting to note," he says,
"that the system of education on which we lavish funds with such
generous, even prodigal, hand, falls short of fulfilling its true
democratic function; and that particularly in the so-called higher
branches its tendency appears daily more reactionary, more feudal.
It is not an agreeable reflection that so many of our university
graduates lack the trained ability to see clearly, and to think
clearly, concisely, constructively; that there is perhaps more showing
of cynicism than good faith, seemingly more distrust of men than
confidence in them, and, withal, no consummate ability to interpret

In contrast to the schoolman he sketches the psychology of the
active-minded but "uneducated" man, with sympathy and understanding,
the man who is courageously seeking a way with little to guide and
help him.

    Is it not the part of wisdom to cheer, to encourage such a
    mind, rather than dishearten it with ridicule? To say to it:
    Learn that the mind works best when allowed to work naturally;
    learn to do what your problem suggests when you have reduced
    it to its simplest terms; you will thus find that all
    problems, however complex, take on a simplicity you had
    not dreamed of; accept this simplicity boldly, and with
    confidence, do not lose your nerve and run away from it, or
    you are lost, for you are here at the point men so heedlessly
    call genius--as though it were necessarily rare; for you are
    here at the point no living brain can surpass in essence,
    the point all truly great minds seek--the point of vital
    simplicity--the point of view which so illuminates the mind
    that the art of expression becomes spontaneous, powerful, and
    unerring, and achievement a certainty. So, if you seek and
    express the best that is in yourself, you must search out the
    best that is in your people; for they are your problem, and
    you are indissolubly a part of them. It is for you to affirm
    that which they really wish to affirm, namely, the best that
    is in them, and they as truly wish you to express the best
    that is in yourself. If the people seem to have but little
    faith it is because they have been tricked so long; they are
    weary of dishonesty, more weary than they know, much more
    weary than you know, and in their hearts they seek honest and
    fearless men, men simple and clear in mind, loyal to their own
    manhood and to the people. The American people are now in a
    stupor; be on hand at the awakening.

Next he pays his respects to current architectural criticism--a
straining at gnats and a swallowing of camels, by minds "benumbed
by culture," and hearts made faint by the tyranny of precedent. He
complains that they make no distinction between _was_ and _is_,
too readily assuming that all that is left us moderns is the humble
privilege to select, copy and adapt.

    The current mannerisms of Architectural criticism must often
    seem trivial. For of what avail is it to say that this is too
    small, that too large, this too thick, and that too thin, or
    to quote this, that, or the other precedent, when the real
    question may be: Is not the entire design a mean evasion? Why
    magnify this, that, or the other little thing, if the entire
    scheme of thinking that the building stands for is false, and
    puts a mask upon the people, who want true buildings, but do
    not know how to get them so long as Architects betray them
    with Architectural phrases?

And so he goes on with his Jeremiad: a prophet of despair, do you
say? No, he seeks to destroy only that falsity which would confine
the living spirit. Earlier and more clearly than we, he discerned the
menace to our civilization of the unrestricted play of the masculine
forces--powerful, ruthless, disintegrating--the head dominating the
heart. It has taken the surgery of war to open our eyes, and behold
the spectacle of the entire German nation which by an intellectual
process appears to have killed out compassion, enthroning
_Schrecklichkeit_. In the heart alone dwells hope of salvation. "For
he who knows even a genuinely little of Mankind knows this truth: the
heart is greater than the head. For in the heart is Desire; and from
it come forth Courage and Magnanimity."

    You have not thought deeply enough to know that the heart in
    you is the woman in man. You have derided your femininity,
    where you have suspected it; whereas, you should have known
    its power, cherished and utilized it, for it is the hidden
    well-spring of Intuition and Imagination. What can the brain
    accomplish without these two? They are the man's two inner
    eyes; without them he is stone blind. For the mind sets forth
    their powers both together. One carries the light, the other
    searches; and between them they find treasures. These they
    bring to the brain, which first elaborates them, then says to
    the will, "Do"--and Action follows. Poetically considered,
    as far as the huge, disordered resultant mass of your
    Architecture is concerned, Intuition and Imagination have not
    gone forth to illuminate and search the hearts of the people.
    Thus are its works stone blind.

It is the absence of poetry and beauty which makes our architecture
so depressing to the spirits. "Poetry as a living thing," says Mr.
Sullivan, "stands for the most telling quality that a man can impart
to his thoughts. Judged by this test your buildings are dreary, empty
places." Artists in words, like Lafcadio Hearn and Henry James, are
able to make articulate the sadness which our cities inspire, but
it is a blight which lies heavy on us all. Theodore Dreiser says, in
_Sister Carrie_--a book with so much bitter truth in it that it was
suppressed by the original publishers:

    Once the bright days of summer pass by, a city takes on the
    sombre garb of grey, wrapped in which it goes about its labors
    during the long winter. Its endless buildings look grey,
    its sky and its streets assume a sombre hue; the scattered,
    leafless trees and wind-blown dust and paper but add to the
    general solemnity of color. There seems to be something in
    the chill breezes which scurry through the long, narrow
    thoroughfares productive of rueful thoughts. Not poets alone,
    nor artists, nor that superior order of mind which arrogates
    to itself all refinement, feel this, but dogs and all men.

The excuse that we are too young a people to have developed an
architecture instinct with that natural poetry which so charms us in
the art of other countries and other times, Mr. Sullivan disposes
of in characteristic fashion. To the plea that "We are too young to
consider these accomplishments. We have been so busy with our material
development that we have not found time to consider them," he makes
answer as follows:

    Know, then, to begin with, they are not accomplishments but
    necessaries. And, to end with, you are old enough, and
    have found the time to succeed in nearly making a fine art
    of--Betrayal, and a science of--Graft. Know that you are
    as old as the race. That each man among you had in him the
    accumulated power of the race, ready at hand for use, in the
    right way, when he shall conclude it better to think straight
    and hence act straight rather than, as now, to act crooked
    and pretend to be straight. Know that the test, plain, simple
    _honesty_ (and you all know, every man of you knows, exactly
    what that means) is always at your hand.

    Know that as all complex manifestations have a simple basis
    of origin, so the vast complexity of your national unrest, ill
    health, inability to think clearly and accurately concerning
    simple things, really vital things, is easily traceable to the
    single, actual, active cause--Dishonesty; and that this points
    with unescapable logic and in just measure to each individual

    The remedy;--_individual honesty_.

To the objection that this is too simple a solution, Mr. Sullivan
retorts that all great solutions are simple, that the basic things of
the universe are those which the heart of a child might comprehend.
"Honesty stands in the universe of Human Thought and Action, as its
very Centre of Gravity, and is our human mask-word behind which abides
all the power of Nature's Integrity, the profoundest _fact_ which
modern thinking has persuaded Life to reveal."

If, on the other hand, the reader complains, "All this is above our
heads," Mr. Sullivan is equally ready with an answer:

    No, it is not. _It is close beside your hand!_ and therein
    lies its power.

    Again you say, "How can honesty be enforced?"

    It cannot be enforced!

    "Then how will the remedy go into effect?"

    It cannot _go_ into effect. It can only come into effect.

    "Then how can it come?"

    Ask Nature.

    "And what will Nature say?"

    Nature is always saying: "I centre at each man, woman and
    child. I knock at the door of each heart, and I wait. I wait
    in patience--ready to enter with my gifts."

    "And is that all that Nature says?"

    That is all.

    "Then how shall we receive Nature?"

    By opening wide your minds! For your greatest crime against
    yourselves is that you have locked the door and thrown away
    the key!

Thus, by a long detour, Mr. Sullivan returns to his initial
proposition, that the falsity of our architecture can be corrected
only by integrity of thought. "Thought is the fine and powerful
instrument. Therefore, _have thought for the integrity of your own

    Naturally, then, as your thoughts thus change, your growing
    architecture will change. Its falsity will depart; its reality
    will gradually appear. For the integrity of your thought as
    a People, will then have penetrated the minds of your

    Then, too, _as your basic thought changes, will emerge a
    philosophy, a poetry, and an art of expression in all things;
    for you will have learned that a characteristic philosophy,
    poetry and art of expression are vital to the healthful growth
    and development of a democratic people_.

Some readers may complain that these are after all only glittering
generalities, of no practical use in solving the specific problems
with which every architect is confronted. On the contrary they are
fundamental verities of incalculable benefit to every sincere artist.
Shallowness is the great vice of democracy; it is surface without
depth, a welter of concrete detail in which the mind easily loses
those great, underlying abstractions from which alone great art can
spring. These, in this essay, Mr. Sullivan helps us to recapture, and
inspires us to employ. He would win us from our insincerities, our
trivialities, and awaken our enormous latent, unused power. He says:

    Awaken it.

    Use it.

    Use it for the common good.

    Begin now!

    For it is as true today as when one of your wise men said

    "The way to resume is to resume!"


The production of ceramics--perhaps the oldest of all the useful
arts practised by man; an art with a magnificent history--seems to be
entering upon a new era of development. It is more alive today, more
generally, more skilfully, though not more _artfully_ practised than
ever before. It should therefore be of interest to all lovers of
architecture, in view of the increasing importance of ceramics in
building, to consider the ways in which these materials may best be

Looking at the matter in the broadest possible way, it may be said
that the building impulse throughout the ages has expressed itself
in two fundamentally different types of structure: that in which the
architecture--and even the ornament--is one with the engineering; and
that in which the two elements are separable, not in thought alone,
but in fact. For brevity let us name that manner of building in which
the architecture is the construction, _Inherent_ architecture, and
that manner in which the two are separable _Incrusted_ architecture.

To the first class belong the architectures of Egypt, Greece, and
Gothic architecture as practised in the north of Europe; to the
second belong Roman architecture of the splendid period, Moorish
architecture, and Italian Gothic, so called. In the first class the
bones of the building were also its flesh; in the second bones and
flesh were in a manner separable, as is proven by the fact that they
were separately considered, separately fashioned. Ruined Karnak, the
ruined Parthenon, wrecked Rheims, show ornament so integral a part
of the fabric--etched so deep--that what has survived of the one has
survived also of the other; while the ruined Baths of Caracalla the
uncompleted church of S. Petronio in Bologna, and many a stark mosque
on many a sandy desert show only bare skeletons of whose completed
glory we can only guess. In them the fabric was a framework for the
display of the lapidary or the ceramic art--a garment destroyed, rent,
or tattered by time and chance, leaving the bones still strong, but

This classification of architecture into Inherent and Incrusted is not
to be confused with the discrimination between architecture that is
_Arranged_, and architecture that is _Organic_, a classification which
is based on psychology--like the difference between the business man
and the poet: talent and genius--whereas the classification which
the reader is asked now to consider is based rather on the matter
of expediency in the use of materials. Let us draw no invidious
comparisons between Inherent and Incrusted architecture, but regard
each as the adequate expression of an ideal type of beauty; the one
masculine, since in the male figure the osseous framework is more
easily discernible; the other feminine, because more concealed and
overlaid with a cellular tissue of shining, precious materials, on
which the disruptive forces in man and nature are more free to act.

It is scarcely necessary to state that it is with Incrusted
architecture that we are alone concerned in this discussion, for to
this class almost all modern buildings perforce belong. This is by
reason of a necessity dictated by the materials that we employ, and by
our methods of construction. All modern buildings follow practically
one method of construction: a bony framework of steel--or of concrete
reinforced by steel--filled in and subdivided by concrete, brick,
hollow fire-clay, or some of its substitutes. To a construction of
this kind some sort of an outer encasement is not only æsthetically
desirable, but practically necessary. It usually takes the form of
stone, face-brick, terra-cotta, tile, stucco, or some combination of
two or more of these materials. Of the two types of architecture the
Incrusted type is therefore imposed by structural necessity.

The enormous importance of ceramics in its relation to architecture
thus becomes apparent. They minister to an architectural need instead
of gratifying an architectural whim. Ours is a period of Incrusted
architecture--one which demands the encasement, rather than the
exposure of structure, and therefore logically admits of the
enrichment of surfaces by means of "veneers" of materials more
precious and beautiful than those employed in the structure, which
becomes, as it were, the canvas of the picture, and not the picture
itself. For these purposes there are no materials more apt, more
adaptable, more enduring, richer in potentialities of beauty than the
products of ceramic art. They are easily and inexpensively produced of
any desired shape, color, texture; their hard, dense surface resists
the action of the elements, is not easily soiled, and is readily
cleaned; being fashioned by fire they are fire resistant.

So much then for the practical demands, in modern architecture, met by
the products of ceramic art. The æsthetic demand is not less admirably
met--or rather _might_ be.

When, in the sixteenth century, the Renaissance spread from south
to north, color was practically eliminated from architecture. The
Egyptians had had it, hot and bright as the sun on the desert; we
know that the Greeks made their Parian marble glow in rainbow tints;
Moorish architecture was nothing if not colorful, and the Venice
Ruskin loved was fairly iridescent--a thing of fire-opal and pearl.
In Italian Renaissance architecture up to its latest phase, the color
element was always present; but it was snuffed out under the leaden
colored northern skies. Paris is grey, London is brown, New York is
white, and Chicago the color of cinders. We have only to compare them
to yellow Rome, red Siena, and pearl-tinted Venice, to realize how
much we have lost in the elimination of color from architecture.
We are coming to realize it. Color played an important part in the
Pan-American Exposition, and again in the San Francisco Exposition,
where, wedded to light, it became the dominant note of the whole
architectural concert. Now these great expositions in which the
architects and artists are given a free hand, are in the nature of
preliminary studies in which these functionaries sketch in transitory
form the things they desire to do in more permanent form. They are
forecasts of the future, a future which in certain quarters is
already beginning to realize itself. It is therefore probable that
architectural art will become increasingly colorful.

The author remembers the day and the hour when this became his
personal conviction--his personal desire. It happened years ago in
the Albright Gallery in Buffalo--a building then newly completed, of a
severely classic type. In the central hall was a single doorway,
whose white marble architrave had been stained with different colored
pigments by Francis Bacon; after the manner of the Greeks. The effect
was so charming, and made the rest of the place seem by contrast so
cold and dun, that the author came then and there to the conclusion
that architecture without polychromy was architecture incomplete. Mr.
Bacon spent three years in Asia Minor, and elsewhere, studying
the remains of Greek architecture, and he found and brought home a
fragment of an antefix from the temple of Assos, in which the applied
color was still pure and strong. The Greeks were a joyous people. When
joy comes back into life, color will come back into architecture.

Ceramic products are ideal as a means to this end. The Greeks
themselves recognized their value for they used them widely and
wisely: it has been discovered that they even attached bands of
colored terra-cotta to the marble mouldings of their temples. How
different must have been such a temple's real appearance from
that imagined by the Classical Revivalists, whose tradition of the
inviolable cold Parian purity of Greek architecture has persisted,
even against archæological evidence to the contrary, up to the present

In one way we have an advantage over the Greek, if we only had the wit
to profit by it. His palette, like his musical scale, was more limited
than ours. Nearly the whole gamut of the spectrum is now available to
the architect who wishes to employ ceramics. The colors do not
change or fade, and possess a beautiful quality. Our craftsmen and
manufacturers of face-brick, terra-cotta, and colored tile, after much
costly experimentation, have succeeded in producing ceramics of a
high order of excellence and intrinsic beauty; they can do practically
anything demanded of them; but from that quarter where they
should reap the greatest commercial advantage--the field of
architecture--there is all too little demand. The architect who should
lead, teach and dictate in this field, is often through ignorance
obliged to learn and follow instead. This has led to an ignominious
situation--ignominious, that is, to the architect. He has come
to require of the manufacturer--when he requires anything at
all--assistance in the very matter in which he should assist: the
determination of color design. It is no wonder that the results are
often bad, and therefore discouraging. The manufacturers of ceramics
welcome co-operation and assistance on the part of the architect with
an eagerness which is almost pathetic, on those rare occasions when
assistance is offered.

But the architect is not really to blame: the reason for his failure
lies deep in his general predicament of having to know a little of
everything, and do a great deal more than he can possibly do well. To
cope with this, if his practice warrants the expenditure, he surrounds
himself with specialists in various fields, and assigns various
departments of his work to them. He cannot be expected to have on
his staff a specialist in ceramics, nor can he, with all his manifold
activities, be expected to become such a specialist himself. As a
result, he is usually content to let color problems alone, for they
are just another complication of his already too complicated life;
or he refers them to some one whom he thinks ought to know--a
manufacturer's designer--and approves almost anything submitted. Of
course the ideal architect would have time for every problem, and
solve it supremely well; but the real architect is all too human:
there are depressions on his cranium where bumps ought to be;
moreover, he wants a little time left to energize in other
directions than in the practice of his craft. One of the functions
of architecture is to reveal the inherent qualities and beauties of
different materials, by their appropriate use and tasteful display.
An onyx staircase on the one hand, and a portland cement high altar
on the other, alike violate this function of architecture; they
transgress that beautiful necessity which decrees that precious
materials should serve precious uses and common materials should
serve utilitarian ends. Now color is a precious thing, and its highest
beauties can be brought out only by contrast with broad neutral tinted
spaces. The interior walls of a mediaeval cathedral never competed
with its windows, and by the same token, a riot of polychromy all
over the side of a building is not as effective, even from a chromatic
point of view, as though it were confined, say, to an entrance and a
frieze. Gilbert's witty phrase is applicable here:

  "Where everybody's somebody, nobody's anybody."

Let us build our walls, then, of stone, or brick, or stucco,--for
their flat surfaces and neutral tints conduce to that repose so
essential to good architectural effect: but let us not rest content
with this, but grant to the eye the delight and contentment which it
craves, by color and pattern placed at those points to which it is
desirable to attract attention, for they serve the same æsthetic
purpose as a tiara on the brow of beauty, or a ring on a delicate
white hand. But just as jewelry is best when it is most individual,
so the ornament of a building should be in keeping with its general
character and complexion. A color scheme should not be chosen at
random, but dictated by the prevailing tone and texture of the wall
surfaces, with which it should harmonize as inevitably as the blossom
of a bush with its prevailing tone of stems and foliage. In a building
this prevailing tone will inevitably be either cold or warm, and the
color scheme just as inevitably should be either cold or warm; that
is, there should be a preponderance of cold colors over warm, or vice
versa. Otherwise the eye will suffer just that order of uneasiness
which comes from the contemplation of two equal masses, whereas it
experiences satisfaction in proportionate unequals.

Nothing will take the place of an instinctive colour-sense, but even
that needs the training of experience, if the field be new, and a few
general principles of all but universal application will not be amiss.

First of all it should be remembered that the intensity of color
should be carefully adjusted to its area. It is dangerous to try to
use high, pure colors, unrelieved and uncontrasted, in large masses,
but the brightest, strongest colors may be used with safety in units
of sufficiently restricted size. For harmony, as well as for richness,
the law of complementaries, in its most general application, is
the safest of all guides, but it must be followed with fine
discrimination. Complementary colors are like married pairs, if they
find the right adjustment with one another they are happy--that is,
there is an effect of beauty--but lacking such adjustment they are
worse off together than apart. Every artist who experiments in color
soon finds out for himself that instead of using two colors directly
complementary, it is better to "split" one of them, that is, use
instead of one of them two others, which combined will yield the
color in question. For example, the color complementary to red is
green-blue. Now green-blue is equidistant between yellow-green and
blue-violet, so if for red and blue-green; red, yellow-green and
blue-violet be substituted the combination loses its obviousness and
a certain harshness without losing anything of its brilliance, or
without departing from the optical law involved. Such a combination
corresponds to a diminished triad in music.

Another important consideration with regard to color as employed by
the architect dwells in those optical changes effected by distance and
position: the relative visibility of different colors and combinations
of colors as the spectator recedes from them, and the environmental
changes which colors undergo--in bright sunlight, in shadow, against
the sky, and with relation to backgrounds of different sorts.

The effect of distance is to make colors merge into one another, to
lower the values, but not all equally. Yellow loses itself first,
tending toward white. The effect of distance, in general, is to
disintegrate and decompose, thus giving "vibration" as it is called. A
knowledge of these and kindred facts will save the architect from many
disappointments and enable him to obtain wonderful chromatic effects
by simple means.

Many architects unused to color problems design their ornament with
very little thought about the colors which they propose to employ,
making it an after-consideration; but the two things should be
considered synchronously for the best final effect. There is a cryptic
saying that "color is at right angles to form," that is, color is
capable of making surfaces advance toward or recede from the eye, just
as modelling does; and for this reason, if color is used, a great deal
of modelling may be dispensed with. If a receding color is used on a
recessed plane, it deepens that plane unduly; while on the other hand
if a color which refuses to recede--like yellow for example--is used
where depth is wanted, the receding plane and the approaching color
neutralize one another, resulting in an effect of flatness not
intended. The tyro should not complicate his problem by combining
color with high relief modelling, bringing inevitably in the element
of light and shade. He should leave that for older hands and concern
himself rather with flat or nearly flat surfaces, using his modelling
much as the worker in cloisonné uses his little rims of brass--to
confine and define each color within its own allotted area. Then,
as he gains experience, he may gradually enrich his pattern by the
addition of the element of light and shade, should he so decide.

Now as to certain general considerations in relation to the
appropriate and logical use of ceramics in the construction and
adornment of buildings, exterior and interior. In our northern
latitudes care should be taken that ceramics are not used in places
and in ways where the accumulation of snow and ice render the joints
subject to alternate freezing and thawing, for in such case, unless
the joints are protected with metal, the units will work loose in
time. On vertical surfaces such protection is not necessary; the use
of ceramics should therefore be confined for the most part to such
surfaces: for friezes, panels, door and window architraves, and the
like. When it is desirable for æsthetic reasons to tie a series of
windows together vertically by means of some "fill" of a material
different from that of the body of the wall, ceramics lend themselves
admirably to the purpose--better than wood, which rots; than iron,
which rusts; than bronze, which turns black; and than marble, which
soon loses its color and texture in exposed situations of this sort.

On the interior of buildings, the most universal use of ceramics is,
of course, for floors, and with the non-slip devices of various sorts
which have come into the market, they are no less good for stairs.
There is nothing better for wainscoting, and in fact for any surface
whatsoever subject to soil and wear. These materials combine permanent
protection and permanent decoration. But fired by the zeal of the
convert the use of ceramics may be overdone. One easily recalls
entire rooms of this material, floors, walls, ceilings, which are less
successful than as though a variety of materials had been employed. It
is just such variety--each material treated in a characteristic, and
therefore different way--that gives charm to so many foreign churches
and cathedrals: walls of stone, floors of marble, choir-stalls of
carved wood, and rood-screen of metal: it is the difference between
an orchestra of various instruments and a mandolin orchestra or a
saxaphone sextette. Ceramics should never invade the domain of the
plasterer, the mural painter, the cabinet maker. Do not let us, in
our zeal for ceramics, be like Bottom the weaver, eager to play every

Ceramics have, as regards architecture, a distinct and honorable
function. This function should be recognized, taken advantage of, but
never overpassed. They offer opportunities large but not limitless.
They constitute one instrument of the orchestra of which the architect
is the conductor, an instrument beautiful in the hands of a master,
and doubly beautiful in concert and contrast with those other
materials whose harmonious ensemble makes that music in three
dimensions: architectural art.


Architecture is the concrete presentment in space of the soul of a
people. If that soul be petty and sordid--"stirred like a child
by little things"--no great architecture is possible because great
architecture can image only greatness. Before any worthy architecture
can arise in the modern world the soul must be aroused. The cannons
of Europe are bringing about this awakening. The world--the world of
thought and emotion from whence flow acts and events--is no longer
decrepit, but like Swedenborg's angels it is advancing toward the
springtide of its youth: down the ringing grooves of change "we sweep
into the younger day."

After the war we are likely to witness an art evolution which will
not be restricted to statues and pictures and insincere essays in
dry-as-dust architectural styles, but one which will permeate the
whole social fabric, and make it palpitate with the rhythm of a
younger, a more abundant life. Beauty and mystery will again make
their dwelling among men; the Voiceless will speak in music, and the
Formless will spin rhythmic patterns on the loom of space. We shall
seek and find a new language of symbols to express the joy of the
soul, freed from the thrall of an iron age of materialism, and
fronting the unimaginable splendors of the spiritual life.


For every æsthetic awakening is the result of a spiritual awakening
of some sort. Every great religious movement found an art expression
eloquent of it. When religion languished, such things as Versailles
and the Paris Opera House were possible, but not such things as the
Parthenon, or Notre Dame. The temples of Egypt were built for the
celebration of the rites of the religion of Egypt; so also in the
case of Greece. Roman architecture was more widely secular, but Rome's
noblest monument, the Pantheon, was a religious edifice. The Moors,
inflamed with religious ardor, swept across Europe, blazing their
trail with mosques and palaces conceived seemingly in some ecstatic
state of dream. The Renaissance, tainted though it was by worldliness,
found still its inspiration in sacred themes, and recorded
its beginning and its end in two mighty religious monuments:
Brunelleschi's and Michael Angelo's domical churches, "wrought in a
sad sincerity" by deeply religious men. Gothic art is a synonym for
mediaeval Christianity; while in the Orient art is scarcely secular at
all, but a symbolical language framed and employed for the expression
of spiritual ideas.

This law, that spirituality and not materialism distils the precious
attar of great art, is permanently true and perennially applicable,
for laws of this order do not change from age to age, however various
their manifestation. The inference is plain: until we become a
religious people great architecture is far from us. We are becoming
religious in that broad sense in which churches and creeds, forms
and ceremonies, play little part. Ours is the search of the heart
for something greater than itself which is still itself; it is the
religion of brotherhood, whose creed is love, whose ritual is service.

This transformed and transforming religion of the West, the tardy
fruit of the teachings of Christ, now secretly active in the hearts
of men, will receive enrichment from many sources. Science will reveal
the manner in which the spirit weaves its seven-fold veil of illusion;
nature, freshly sensed, will yield new symbols which art will organize
into a language; out of the experience of the soul will grow new
rituals and observances. But one precious tincture of this new
religion our civilization and our past cannot supply; it is the
heritage of Asia, cherished in her brooding bosom for uncounted
centuries, until, by the operation of the law of cycles, the time
should come for the giving of it to the West.

This secret is Yoga, the method of self-development whereby the seeker
for union is enabled to perceive the shining of the Inward Light. This
is achieved by daily discipline in stilling the mind and directing the
consciousness inward instead of outward. The Self is within, and
the mind, which is normally centrifugal, must first be arrested,
controlled, and then turned back upon itself, and held with perfect
steadiness. All this is naively expressed in the Upanishads in the
passage, "The Self-existent pierced the openings of the senses so that
they turn forward, not backward into himself. Some wise man, however,
with eyes closed and wishing for immortality, saw the Self behind."
This stilling of the mind, its subjugation and control whereby it may
be concentrated on anything at will, is particularly hard for persons
of our race and training, a race the natural direction of whose
consciousness is strongly outward, a training in which the practice of
introspective meditation finds no place.

Yoga--that "union" which brings inward vision, the contribution of the
East to the spiritual life of the West--will bring profound changes
into the art of the West, since art springs from consciousness. The
consciousness of the West now concerns itself with the visible world
almost exclusively, and Western art is therefore characterized by an
almost slavish fidelity to the ephemeral appearances of things--the
record of particular moods and moments. The consciousness of the East
on the other hand, is subjective, introspective. Its art accordingly
concerns itself with eternal aspects, with a world of archetypal
ideas in which things exist not for their own sake, but as symbols of
supernal things. The Oriental artist avoids as far as possible trivial
and individual rhythms, seeking always the fundamental rhythm of the
larger, deeper life.

Now this quality so earnestly sought and so highly prized in Oriental
art, is the very thing which our art and our architecture most
conspicuously lack. To the eye sensitive to rhythm, our essays in
these fields appear awkward and unconvincing, lacking a certain
_inevitability_. We must restore to art that first great canon of
Chinese æsthetics, "_Rhythmic vitality,_ or the life movement of the
spirit through the rhythm of things." It cannot be interjected from
the outside, but must be inwardly realized by the "stilling" of the
mind above described.

Art cannot dispense with symbolism; as the letters on this page convey
thoughts to the mind, so do the things of this world, organized into
a language of symbols, speak to the soul through art. But in the
building of our towers of Babel, again mankind is stricken with a
confusion of tongues. Art has no _common language;_ its symbols are
no longer valid, or are no longer understood. This is a condition for
which materialism has no remedy, for the reason that materialism sees
always the pattern but never that which the pattern represents. We
must become _spiritually illumined_ before we can read nature truly,
and re-create, from such a reading, fresh and universal symbols for
art. This is a task beyond the power of our sad generation, enchained
by negative thinking, overshadowed by war, but we can at least glimpse
the nature of the reaction between the mystic consciousness and the
things of this world which will produce a new language of symbols. The
mystic consciousness looks upon nature as an arras embroidered over
with symbols of the things it conceals from view. We are ourselves
symbols, dwelling in a world of symbols--a world many times removed
from that ultimate reality to which all things bear figurative
witness; the commonest thing has yet some mystic meaning, and ugliness
and vulgarity exist only in the unillumined mind.

What mystic meaning, it may be asked, is contained in such things as
a brick, a house, a hat, a pair of shoes? A brick is the ultimate
atom of a building; a house is the larger body which man makes for his
uses, just as the Self has built its habitation of flesh and bones;
hat and shoes are felt and leather insulators with which we seek to
cut ourselves off from the currents which flow through earth and air
from God. It may be objected that these answers only substitute
for the lesser symbol a greater, but this is inevitable: if for the
greater symbol were named one still more abstract and inclusive, the
ultimate verity would be as far from affirmation as before. There is
nothing of which the human mind can conceive that is not a symbol of
something greater and higher than itself.

The dictionary defines a symbol as "something that stands for
something else and serves to represent it, or to bring to mind one or
more of its qualities." Now this world is a _reflection_ of a higher
world, and that of a higher world still, and so on. Accordingly,
everything is a symbol of something higher, since by reflecting, it
"stands for, and serves to represent it," and the thing symbolized,
being itself a reflection, is, by the same token, itself a symbol.
By reiterated repetitions of this reflecting process throughout the
numberless planes and sub-planes of nature, each thing becomes a
symbol, not of one thing only, but of many things, all intimately
correlated, and this gives rise to those underlying analogies, those
"secret subterranean passages between matter and soul" which have ever
been the especial preoccupation of the poet and the mystic, but which
may one day become the subject of serious examination by scientific

Let us briefly pass in review the various terms of such an ascending
series of symbols: members of one family, they might be called, since
they follow a single line of descent.

Take gold: as a thing in itself, without any symbolical significance,
it is a metallic element, having a characteristic yellow color, very
heavy, very soft, the most ductile, malleable, and indestructible of
metals. In its minted form it is the life force of the body economic,
since on its abundance and free circulation the well-being of that
body depends; it is that for which all men strive and contend, because
without it they cannot comfortably live. This, then, is gold in its
first and lowest symbolical aspect: a life principle, a motive force
in human affairs. But it is not gold which has gained for man his
lordship over nature; it is fire, the yellow gold, not of the earth,
but of the air,--cities and civilizations, arts and industries, have
ever followed the camp fire of the pioneer. Sunlight comes next in
sequence--sunlight, which focussed in a burning glass, spontaneously
produces flame. The world subsists on sunlight; all animate creation
grows by it, and languishes without it, as the prosperity of cities
waxes or wanes with the presence or absence of a supply of gold. The
magnetic force of the sun, specialized as _prana_ (which is not the
breath which goes up and the breath which goes down, but that other,
in which the two repose), fulfils the same function in the human body
as does gold in civilization, sunlight in nature: its abundance makes
for health, its meagreness for enervation. Higher than _prana_ is the
mind, that golden sceptre of man's dominion, the Promethean gift of
fire with which he menaces the empire of the gods. Higher still, in
the soul, love is the motive force, the conqueror: a "heart of gold"
is one warmed and lighted by love. Still other is the desire of the
spirit, which no human affection satisfies, but truth only, the Golden
Person, the Light of the World, the very Godhead itself. Thus there is
earthy, airy, etheric gold; gold as intellect, gold as love, gold as
truth; from the curse of the world, the cause of a thousand crimes,
there ascends a Jacob's Ladder of symbols to divinity itself, whereby
men may learn that God works by sacrifice: that His universe is itself
His broken body. As gold in the purse, fire on the forge, sunlight
for the eyes, breath in the body, knowledge in the mind, love in the
heart, and wisdom in the understanding, He draws all men unto Him,
teaching them the wise use of wealth, the mastery over nature, the
care of the body, the cultivation of the mind, the love of wife and
child and neighbour, and, last lesson of all, He teaches them that in
industry, in science, in art, in sympathy and understanding, He it is
they are all the while knowing, loving, becoming; and that even when
they flee Him, His are the wings--

  "When me they fly, I am the wings."

This attempt to define gold as a symbol ends with the indication of an
ubiquitous and immanent divinity in everything. Thus it is always: in
attempting to dislodge a single voussoir from the arch of truth, the
temple itself is shaken, so cunningly are the stones fitted together.
All roads lead to Rome, and every symbol is a key to the Great
Mystery: for example, read in the light of these correspondences, the
alchemist's transmutation of base metals into gold, is seen to be the
sublimation of man's lower nature into "that highest golden sheath,
which is Brahman."

Keeping the first sequence clearly in mind, let us now attempt to
trace another, parallel to it: the feminine of which the first may
be considered the corresponding masculine. Silver is a white, ductile
metallic element. In coinage it is the synonym for ready cash,--gold
in the bank is silver in the pocket; hence, in a sense, silver is
the _reflection_, or the second power of gold. Just as ruddy gold is
correlated with fire, so is pale silver with water; and as fire is
affiliated with the sun, so do the waters of the earth follow the
moon in her courses. The golden sun, the silver moon: these commonly
employed descriptive adjectives themselves supply the correlation we
are seeking; another indication of its validity lies in the fact that
one of the characteristics of water is its power of reflecting; that
moonlight is reflected sunlight. If gold is the mind, silver is the
body, in which the mind is imaged, objectified; if gold is flamelike
love, silver is brooding affection; and in the highest regions of
consciousness, beauty is the feminine or form side of truth--its
silver mirror.

There are two forces in the world, one of projection, the other
of recall; two states, activity and rest. Nature, with tireless
ingenuity, everywhere publishes this fact: in bursting bud and falling
seed, in the updrawn waters and the descending rain; throw a stone
into the air, and when the impulse is exhausted, gravity brings it to
earth again. In civilized society these centrifugal and centripetal
forces find expression in the anarchic and radical spirit which breaks
down and re-forms existing institutions, and in the conservative
spirit which preserves and upbuilds by gradual accretion; they are
analogous to igneous and to aqueous action in the formation and
upbuilding of the earth itself, and find their prototype again in man
and woman: man, the warrior, who prevails by the active exercise
of his powers, and woman, "the treasury of the continued race,"
who conquers by continual quietness. Man and woman symbolize forces
centrifugal and centripetal not alone in their inner nature, and
in the social and economic functions peculiar to each, but in their
physical aspects and peculiarities as well, for man is small of flank
and broad of shoulder, with relatively large extremities, _i.e.,
centrifugal_: while woman is formed with broad hips, narrow shoulders,
and small feet and hands, _i.e., centripetal_. Woman's instinctive
and unconscious gestures are _towards_ herself, man's are _away from_
himself. The physiologist might hold that the anatomical differences
between the sexes result from their difference in function in the
reproduction and conservation of the race, and this is a true view,
but the lesser truth need not necessarily exclude the greater. As
Chesterton says, "Something in the evil spirit of our time forces
people always to pretend to have found some material and mechanical
explanation." Such would have us believe, with Schopenhauer and
Bernard Shaw, that the lover's delight in the beauty of his mistress
dwells solely in his instinctive perception of her fitness to be the
mother of his child. This is undoubtedly a factor in the glamour
woman casts on man, but there are other factors too, higher as well as
lower, corresponding to different departments of our manifold nature.
First of all, there is mere physical attraction: to the man physical,
woman is a cup of delight; next, there is emotional love, whereby
woman appeals through her need of protection, her power of tenderness;
on the mental plane she is man's intellectual companion, his masculine
reason would supplement itself with her feminine intuition; he
recognizes in her an objectification, in some sort, of his own soul,
his spirit's bride, predestined throughout the ages; while the god
within him perceives her to be that portion of himself which he put
forth before the world was, to be the mother, not alone of human
children, but of all those myriad forms, within which entering, "as in
a sheath, a knife," he becomes the Enjoyer, and realizes, vividly and
concretely, his bliss, his wisdom, and his power.

Adam and Eve, and the tree in the midst of the garden! After man and
woman, a tree is perhaps the most significant symbol in the
world: every tree is the Tree of Life in the sense that it is a
representation of universal becoming. To say that all things have for
their mother _prakriti_, undifferentiated substance, and for their
father _purusha_, the creative fire, is vague and metaphysical, and
conveys little meaning to our image-bred, image-fed minds; on the
physical plane we can only learn these transcendental truths by means
of symbols, and so to each of us is given a human father and a human
mother from whose relation to one another and to oneself may be
learned our relation to nature, the universal mother, and to that
immortal spirit which is the father of us all. We are given, moreover,
the symbol of the tree, which, rooted in the earth, its mother, and
nourished by her juices, strives ever upward towards its father, the
sun. The mathematician may be able to demonstrate, as a result of a
lifetime of hard thinking, that unity and infinity are but two aspects
of one thing; this is not clear to ordinary minds, but made concrete
in the tree--unity in the trunk, infinity in the foliage--any one
is able to understand it. We perceive that all things grow as a tree
grows, from unity to multiplicity, from simplicity and strength to
beauty and fineness. The generation of the line from the point, the
plane from the line, and from the plane, the solid, is a matter,
again, which chiefly interests the geometrician, but the inevitable
sequence stands revealed in seed, stem, leaf, and fruit: a point, a
line, a surface, and a sphere. There is another order of truths, also,
which a tree teaches: the renewal of its life each year is a symbol
of the reincarnation of the soul, teaching that life is never-ending
climax, and that what appears to be cessation is merely a change
of state. A tree grows great by being firmly rooted; we too, though
children of the air, need the earth, and grow by good deeds, hidden,
like the roots of the tree, out of sight; for the tree, rain and
sunshine: for the soul, tears and laughter thrill the imprisoned
spirit into conscious life.

We love and understand the trees because we have ourselves passed
through their evolution, and they survive in us still, for the
arterial and nervous systems are trees, the roots of one in the heart,
of the other in the brain. Has not our body its trunk, bearing aloft
the head, like a flower: a cup to hold the precious juices of the
brain? Has not that trunk its tapering limbs which ramify into hands
and feet, and these into fingers and toes, after the manner of the
twigs and branches of a tree?

Closely related to symbolism is sacramentalism; the man who sees
nature as a book of symbols is likely to regard life as a sacrament.
Because this is a point of view vitalizing to art let us glance at
the sacramental life, divorced from the forms and observances of any
specific religion.

This life consists in the habitual perception of an ulterior meaning,
a hidden beauty and significance in the objects, acts, and events
of every day. Though binding us to a sensuous existence, these
nevertheless contain within themselves the power of emancipating us
from it: over and above their immediate use, their pleasure or their
profit, they have a hidden meaning which contains some healing message
for the soul.

A classic example of a sacrament, not alone in the ordinary meaning
of the term, but in the special sense above defined, is the Holy
Communion of the Christian Church. Its origin is a matter of common
knowledge. On the evening of the night in which He was betrayed,
Jesus and His disciples were gathered together for the feast of the
Passover. Aware of His impending betrayal, and desirous of impressing
powerfully upon His chosen followers the nature and purpose of His
sacrifice, Jesus ordained a sacrament out of the simple materials of
the repast. He took bread and broke it, and gave to each a piece as
the symbol of His broken body; and to each He passed a cup of wine,
as a symbol of His poured-out blood. In this act, as in the washing of
the disciples' feet on the same occasion, He made His ministrations to
the needs of men's bodies an allegory of His greater ministration to
the needs of their souls.

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is of such beauty and power that it
has persisted even to the present day. It lacks, however, the element
of universality--at least by other than Christians its universality
would be denied. Let us seek, therefore some all-embracing symbol to
illustrate the sacramental view of life.

Perhaps marriage is such a symbol. The public avowal of love between
a man and woman, their mutual assumption of the attendant privileges,
duties and responsibilities are matters so pregnant with consequences
to them and to the race that by all right-thinking people marriage is
regarded as a high and holy thing; its sacramental character is felt
and acknowledged even by those who would be puzzled to tell the reason

The reason is involved in the answer to the question, "Of what is
marriage a symbol?" The most obvious answer, and doubtless the best
one, is found in the well known and much abused doctrine, common to
every religion, of the spiritual marriage between God and the soul.
What Christians call _the Mystic Way,_ and Buddhists _the Path_
comprises those changes in consciousness through which every soul
passes on its way to perfection. When the personal life is conceived
of as an allegory of this inner, intense, super-mundane life, it
assumes a sacramental character. With strange unanimity, followers
of the Mystic Way have given the name of marriage to that memorable
experience in "the flight of the Alone to the Alone," when the soul,
after trials and purgations, enters into indissoluble union with the
spirit, that divine, creative principle whereby it is made fruitful
for this world. Marriage, then, however dear and close the union, is
the symbol of a union dearer and closer, for it is the fair prophecy
that on some higher arc of the evolutionary spiral, the soul will meet
its immortal lover and be initiated into divine mysteries.

As an example of the power of symbols to induce those changes of
consciousness whereby the soul is prepared for this union, it is
recorded that an eminent scientist was moved to alter his entire mode
of life on reflecting, while in his bath one morning, that though each
day he was at such pains to make clean his body, he made no similar
purgation of his mind and heart. The idea appealed to him so
profoundly that he began to practise the higher cleanliness from that
day forth.

If it be true, as has been said, that ordinary life in the world is a
training school for a life more real and more sublime, then everything
pertaining to life in the world must possess a sacramental character,
and possess it inherently, and not merely by imputation. Let us
discover, then, if we can, some of the larger meanings latent in
little things.

When at the end of a cloudy day the sun bursts forth in splendor and
sets red in the west, it is a sign to the weather-wise that the next
day will be fair. To the devotee of the sacramental life it holds a
richer promise. To him the sun is a symbol of the love of God; the
clouds, those worldly preoccupations of his own which hide its face
from him. This purely physical phenomenon, therefore, which brings
to most men a scarcely noticed augmentation of heat and light, and
an indication of fair weather on the morrow, induces in the mystic an
ineffable sense of divine immanence and beneficence, and an assurance
of their continuance beyond the dark night of the death of the body.

When the sacramentalist goes swimming in the sea he enjoys to the full
the attendant physical exhilaration, but a greater joy flows from
the thought that he is back with his great Sea-Mother--that feminine
principle of which the sea is the perfect symbol, since water brings
all things to birth and nurtures them. When at the end of a day
he lays aside his clothes--that two-dimensional sheath of the
three-dimensional body--it is in full assurance that his body in turn
will be abandoned by the inwardly retreating consciousness, and that
he will range wherever he wills during the hours of sleep, clothed in
his subtle four-dimensional body, related to the physical body as that
is related to the clothes it wears.

To every sincere seeker nature reveals her secrets, but since men
differ in their curiosities she reveals different things to different
men. All are rewarded for their devotion in accordance with their
interests and desires, but woman-like, nature reveals herself most
fully to him who worships not the fair form of her, but her soul. This
favored lover is the mystic; for ever seeking instruction in things
spiritual, he perceives in nature an allegory of the soul, and
interprets her symbols in terms of the sacramental life.

The brook, pursuing its tortuous and stony pathway in untiring effort
to reach its gravitational centre, is a symbol of the Pilgrim's
progress, impelled by love to seek God within his heart. The modest
daisy by the roadside, and the wanton sunflower in the garden alike
seek to image the sun, the god of their worship, a core of seeds and
fringe of petals representing their best effort to mimic the flaming
disc and far-flung corona of the sun. Man seeks less ardently, and so
more ineffectively in his will and imagination to image God. In the
reverent study of insect and animal life we gain some hint of what we
have been and what we may become--something corresponding to the grub,
a burrowing thing; to the caterpillar, a crawling thing; and finally
to the butterfly, a radiant winged creature.

After this fashion then does he who has embraced the sacramental life
come to perceive in the "sensuous manifold" of nature, that one divine
Reality which ever seeks to instruct him in supermundane wisdom, and
to woo him to superhuman blessedness and peace. In time, this reading
of earth in terms of heaven, becomes a settled habit. Then, in
Emerson's phrase, he has hitched his wagon to a star, and changed his
grocer's cart into a chariot of the sun.

The reader may perhaps fail to perceive the bearing of this long
discussion of symbols and sacraments upon the subject of art and
architecture, but in the mind of the author the correlation is
plain. There can be no great art without religion: religion begins in
consciousness as a mystic experience, it flows thence into symbols
and sacraments, and these in turn are precipitated by the artist into
ponderable forms of beauty. Unless the artist himself participates in
this mystic experience, life's deeper meanings will escape him, and
the work of his hands will have no special significance. Until it can
be said of every artist

  "Himself from God he could not free,"

there will be no art worthy of the name.


I take great pleasure in availing myself of this opportunity to speak
to you on certain aspects of the art which we practise. I cannot
forget, and I hope that you sufficiently remember, that the
architectural future of this country lies in the hands of just such
men as you. Let me dwell then for a moment on your unique opportunity.
Perhaps some of you have taken up architecture as you might have gone
into trade, or manufacturing, or any of the useful professions; in
that case you have probably already learned discrimination, and now
realize that in the cutting of the cake of human occupations you
have drawn the piece which contains the ring of gold. The cake is
the business and utilitarian side of life, the ring of gold is the
æsthetic, the creative side: treasure it, for it is a precious and
enduring thing. Think what your work is: to reassemble materials in
such fashion that they become instinct with a beauty and eloquent with
a meaning which may carry inspiration and delight to generations still
unborn. Immortality haunts your threshold, even though your hand may
not be strong enough to open to the heavenly visitor.

Though the profession of architecture is a noble one in any country
and in any age, it is particularly rich in inspiration and in
opportunity here and now, for who can doubt that we are about to enter
upon a great building period? We have what Mr. Sullivan calls "the
need and the power to build," the spirit of great art alone is
lacking, and that is already stirring in the secret hearts of men, and
will sooner or later find expression in objective and ponderable
forms of new beauty. These it is your privilege to create. May the
opportunity find you ready! There is a saying, "To be young, to be in
love, to be in Italy!" I would paraphrase it thus: To be young, to be
in architecture, to be in America.

It is my purpose tonight to outline a scheme of self-education, which
if consistently followed out I am sure will help you, though I am
aware that to a certain order of mind it will seem highly mystical and
impractical. If it commends itself to your favor I shall be glad.

Many of you will have had the advantage of a thorough technical
training in your chosen profession: be grateful for it. Others, like
Topsy, "just growed"--or have just failed to grow. For the solace of
all such, without wishing to be understood to disparage architectural
schooling, I would say that there is a kind of education which is
worse than none, for by filling his mind with ready-made ideas it
prevents a man from ever learning to think for himself; and there is
another kind which teaches him to think, indeed, but according to some
arbitrary method, so that his mind becomes a canal instead of a river,
flowing in a predetermined and artificial channel, and unreplenished
by the hidden springs of the spirit. The best education can do no more
than to bring into manifestation that which is inherent; it does this
by means of some stimulus from without--from books and masters--but
the stimulus may equally come from within: each can develop his own
mind, and in the following manner.

The alternation between a state of activity and a state of passivity,
which is a law of our physical being, as it is a law of all nature,
is characteristic of the action of the mind as well: observation and
meditation are the two poles of thought. The tendency of modern life
and of our active American temperament is towards a too exclusive
functioning of the mind in its outgoing state, and this results in
a great cleverness and a great shallowness. It is only in moments of
quiet meditation that the great synthetic, fundamental truths reveal
themselves. Observe ceaselessly, weigh, judge, criticize--this order
of intellectual activity is important and valuable--but the mind must
be steadied and strengthened by another and a different process. The
power of attention, the ability to concentrate, is the measure of
mental efficiency; and this power may be developed by a training
exactly analogous to that by which a muscle is developed, for mind
and muscle are alike the instruments of the Silent Thinker who sits
behind. The mind an instrument of something higher than the mind: here
is a truth so fertile that in the language of Oriental imagery, "If
you were to tell this to a dry stick, branches would grow, and leaves
sprout from it."

There is nothing original in the method of mental development here
indicated; it has been known and practised for centuries in the East,
where life is less strenuous than it is with us. The method consists
in silent meditation every day at stated periods, during which the
attempt is made to hold the mind to the contemplation of a single
image or idea, bringing the attention back whenever it wanders,
killing each irrelevant thought as it arises, as one might kill a
rat coming out of a hole. This turning of the mind back on itself is
difficult, but I know of nothing that "pays" so well, and I have never
found any one who conscientiously practised it who did not confirm
this view. The point is, that if a man acquires the ability to
concentrate on one thing, he can concentrate on anything; he increases
his competence on the mental plane in the same manner that pulling
chest-weights increases his competence on the physical. The practice
of meditation has moreover an ulterior as well as an immediate
advantage, and that is the reason it is practised by the Yogis of
India. They believe that by stilling the mind, which is like a lake
reflecting the sky, the Higher Self communicates a knowledge of Itself
to the lower consciousness. Without the working of this Oversoul in
and through us we can never hope to produce an architecture which
shall rank with the great architectures of the past, for in Egypt, in
Greece, in mediaeval France, as in India, China, and Japan, mysticism
made for itself a language more eloquent than any in which the purely
rational consciousness of man has ever spoken.

We are apt to overestimate the importance of books and book learning.
Think how small a part books have played in the development of
architecture; indeed, Palladio and Vignola, with their hard and fast
formulæ have done the art more harm than good. It is a fallacy that
reading strengthens the mind--it enervates it; reading sometimes
stimulates the mind to original thinking, and _this_ develops it,
but reading itself is a passive exercise, because the thought of the
reader is for the time being in abeyance in order that the thought
of the writer may enter. Much reading impairs the power to think
originally and consecutively. Few of the great creators of the world
have had use for books, and if you aspire to be in their class you
will avoid the "spawn of the press." The best plan is to read only
great books, and having read for five minutes, think about what you
have read for ten.

These exercises, faithfully followed out, will make your mind a fit
vehicle for the expression of your idea, but the advice I have
given is as pertinent to any one who uses his mind as it is to the
architect. To what, specifically, should the architectural student
devote his attention in order to improve the quality of his work?
My own answer would be that he should devote himself to the study of
music, of the human figure, and to the study of Nature--"first, last,
midst, and without end."

The correlation between music and architecture is no new thought; it
is implied in the famous saying that architecture is frozen music.
Vitruvius considered a knowledge of music to be a qualification of the
architect of his day, and if it was desirable then it is no less so
now. There is both a metaphysical reason and a practical one why
this is so. Walter Pater, in a famous phrase, declared that all art
constantly aspires to the condition of music, by which he meant to
imply that there is a certain rhythm and harmony at the root of every
art, of which music is the perfect and pure expression; that in
music the means and the end are one and the same. This coincides with
Schopenhauer's theory about music, that it is the most perfect
and unconditioned sensuous presentment known to us of that undying
_will-to-live_ which constitutes life and the world. Metaphysics
aside, the architect ought to hear as much good music as he can, and
learn the rudiments of harmony, at least to the extent of knowing the
simple numerical ratios which govern the principal consonant intervals
within the octave, so that, translating these ratios into intervals of
space expressed in terms of length and breadth, height, and width, his
work will "aspire to the condition of music."

There is a metaphysical reason, too, as well as a practical one, why
an architect should know the human figure. Carlyle says, "There is but
one temple in the world, and that is the body of man." If the body
is, as he declares, a temple, it is no less true that a temple, or any
work of architectural art is in the nature of an ampler body which
man has created for his uses, and which he inhabits, just as the
individual consciousness builds and inhabits its fleshly stronghold.
This may seem a highly mystical idea, but the correlation between
the house and its inhabitant, and the body and its consciousness is
everywhere close, and is susceptible of infinite elaboration.

Architectural beauty, like human beauty, depends upon a proper
subordination of parts to the whole, a harmonious interrelation
between these parts, the expressiveness of each of its functions, and
when these are many and diverse, their reconcilement one with another.
This being so, a study of the human figure with a view to analyzing
the sources of its beauty cannot fail to be profitable to the
architectural designer. Pursued intelligently, such study will
stimulate the mind to a perception of those simple yet subtle laws
according to which nature everywhere works, and it will educate
the eye in the finest known school of proportion, training it to
distinguish minute differences, in the same way that the hearing of
good music cultivates the ear.

It is neither necessary nor desirable to make elaborate and carefully
shaded drawings from a posed model; an equal number of hours spent in
copying and analyzing the plates of a good art anatomy, supplemented
with a certain amount of life drawing, done merely with a view to
catch the pose, will be found to be a more profitable exercise, for it
will make you familiar with the principal and subsidiary proportions
of the bodily temple, and give you sufficient data to enable you to
indicate a figure in any position with fair accuracy.

I recommend the study of Nature because I believe that such study
will assist you to recover that direct and instant perception of
beauty, our natural birthright, of which over-sophistication has
so bereft us that we no longer know it to be ours by right of
inheritance--inheritance from that cosmic matter endowed with
motion out of which we are fashioned, proceeding ever rationally and
rhythmically to its appointed ends. We are all of us participators in
a world of concrete music, geometry and number--a world, that is, so
mathematically constituted and co-ordinated that our pigmy bodies,
equally with the farthest star, throb to the music of the spheres. The
blood flows rhythmically, the heart its metronome; the moving limbs
weave patterns; the voice stirs into radiating sound-waves that pool
of silence which we call the air.

  "Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,
    Or dip thy paddle in the lake,
  But it carves the bow of beauty there,
    And ripples in rhyme the oar forsake."

The whole of animate creation labours under the beautiful necessity of
being beautiful. Everywhere it exhibits a perfect utility subservient
to harmonious laws. Nature is the workshop in which are built
_beautiful organisms_. This is exactly the aim of the architect--to
fashion beautiful organisms; what better school, therefore, could he
have in which to learn his trade?

To study Nature it is not necessary to go out into the fields and
botanize, nor to attempt to make water colours of picturesque scenery.
These things are very well, but not so profitable to your particular
purpose as observation directed toward the discovery of the laws which
underlie and determine form and structure, such as the tracing of the
spiral line, not alone where it is obvious, as in the snail's shell
and in the ram's horn, but where it appears obscurely, as in the
disposition of leaves or twigs upon a parent stem. Such laws of nature
are equally laws of art, for art _is_ nature carried to a higher power
by reason of its passage through a human consciousness. Thought and
emotion tend to crystallize into forms of beauty as inevitably, and
according to the same laws, as does the frost on the window pane. Art,
in one of its aspects, is the weaving of a pattern, the communication
of an order and a method to lines, forms, colors, sounds. All very
poetical, and possibly true, you may be saying to yourselves, but
what has it to do with architecture, which nowadays, at least, is
pre-eminently a practical and utilitarian art whose highest mission
is to fulfil definite conditions in an economical and admirable way;
whose supreme excellence is fitness, appropriateness, the perfect
adaptation of means to ends, and the apt expression of both means
and ends? Yes, architecture is all of this, but this is not all of
architecture; else the most efficient engineer would be the most
admirable architect, which does not happen to be the case. Along with
the expression of the concrete and individual must go the expression
of the abstract and universal; the two can be combined in a single
building in the same way that in every human countenance are
combined a racial or temperamental _type_, which is universal, and a
_character_, which is individual. The expression of any sort of cosmic
truth, of universal harmony and rhythm, is the quality which our
architecture most conspicuously lacks. Failing to find the cosmic
truth within ourselves, failing to vibrate to the universal harmony
and rhythm, our architecture is--well, what it is, for only that which
is native to our living spirit can we show forth in the work of our

Your work will be, in the last analysis, what you yourselves are. Let
no sophistry blind you to the truth of that. There are rhythms in the
world of space which we find only in the architecture of the past, and
enamoured of their beauty we repeat them over and over (off the key
for the most part), on the principle that all the songs have been
sung; or we just make a noise, on the principle that noise is all
there is to architecture anyway. It is not so. Those systems of
spatial rhythms which we call Egyptian, Classic, Gothic, Renaissance
architecture and the rest, are records all of the living human spirit
energizing in the stubborn matter of the physical plane with joy, with
conviction, with mastery. When that undying spirit awakes again in
you, stirred into consciousness by meditation, which is its prayer;
by music, which is its praise; by the contemplation of that fair
form which is its temple; and by communion with nature, which is its
looking-glass; you will experience again that ancient joy, hold again
that firm conviction, and exercise again that mastery to transfuse the
granite and iron heart of the hills into patterns unlike any that the
hand of man has made before.

[Footnote 1: An address delivered before the Boston Architectural Club
in April, 1909.]

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