On September 28th 2010 I flew to Ft Worth for a couple of days of site research. I met Malcolm Warner for the first time, and he turns out to be a really smart, funny, great guy. He gave me a very thorough tour of the Kimbell. I got to visit a lot of behind the scenes areas I hadn’t seen before, like the conservators lab, the executive offices, the library, the auditorium, etc. Which was really amazing and exciting for me as a huge fan and student of the building for over 20 years. I also walked the entire site and spent a lot of time thinking, listening, feeling the building, before the chaos of major construction descended on the site a month later. I also rented a storage locker nearby where I could start piling materials as I collected them.
The material list grew from just clay from the site to any material that could be used in either a clay body, a glaze, or fuel to heat a kiln. So things like, clay, wood (to burn for kiln heat, or to use the resulting ash in a glaze), water from the fountains (to use in processing or wheel-throwing the clay or in a glaze), rust from any metal on site, including from Richard Serra’s Torque next door at the The Ft Worth Modern (to use as oxide in glazes or stains), rocks (to grind and use in clay or glaze), travertine (the “sacred” material of the Kahn building, to use in clay or glaze or …?), etc.
Then I spent a few hours gathering pre-construction materials like acorns (there are several different kinds of oak trees on the site that drop different kinds and sizes of acorns). I have no idea what I can, or will, do with acorns, maybe burn them, but my fear is to miss something on the site that will go away and later I’ll decide I need for something. So I now have several buckets of acorns stored, just in case. And to my delight there seemed to be clay all over the site and at different depths. Promising news.
Here are a bunch of pictures from different sources on the internet, I took none of these.
This is Louis Kahn in the auditorium while he was there for the final inspection of the building.