There are several buildings I would have liked to have worked on. I think the Pantheon would have been fun. To work on a building (of course not knowing about it then) that would have the world’s largest dome from 128 to 1436. So, you would be working on something that had legs, and that you would like, and you could guess would always be there. Likewise, the dome of the Florence Cathedral, the largest from 1436 to 1881, broke a lot of rules and presumably I would have been young enough to climb the scaffolding to the top and look down over city. Florence is a good city, so there would also be plenty to do at lunch break.
Of course, as my life was born with (Louis I.) Kahn, what would first come to mind would likely be one of his buildings. As beautiful as Kahn’s Dhaka is, I wouldn’t particularly want to live there and it is a long walk to town. But I would chose a Lou Kahn building, because I think working on the Kimbell Art Museum would have given me a kind of serenity. It’s a building that has divorced itself from the phrase, “Look at me! Look at me!” It has divorced itself from style. It has divorced itself from showing off, beating one’s breast, and being clever. It is as pure a building, in its way, as an un-painted Parthenon. (The new museum in Athens and a lot of literature tries to make a big point of explaining how much of Greek architecture was painted and how beautiful it must have been. Well, I have gotten used to the fact that they aren’t painted and to have them brought back to that way wouldn’t particularly excite me.) The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, one hopes it would always just look the way it looks. A close second would be the Salk Institute. That “dumbness” (a term that Lou used often in his work) is quite extraordinary.
— Richard Saul Wurman, architect, author, teacher, graphic designer, is the acknowledged father of “Information Architecture.” He has written, designed and published 83 books, and recently received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Awards. Wurman is perhaps best known for having cofounded and chaired the TED conference from 1984 thru 2002.