Brain Pickings: John Vernon Lord’s Whimsical Illustrations for James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.
Brandon Stanton moved to New York in 2010. As an amateur photographer, he was fascinated by the crowds of characters throughout the city. He began to take street portraits of the people he met and share them in an album on his timeline named, Humans of New York.
As his photos started to gain a following, he created a Facebook Page that started a movement. There are “Humans of …” Facebook Pages for nearly every major city in the world, while the HONY photographer himself is something of a celebrity on the streets of New York.
Brandon’s Facebook community of more than 2.3 million people is more than just an audience. Together, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and have propelled Brandon to become a New York Times bestselling author after he published a book of his work in 2013.
Browse through past Humans of New York photos on Facebook and like the Page to see more in the future: facebook.com/humansofnewyork
This is one of 10 stories celebrating Facebook’s 10th anniversary and a decade of connections made possible through the platform. See the rest at facebookstories.com/10
Presented by Facebook Stories
Executive Producer: Brian Edelman
Executive Creative Director: Will Hall
Agency Producer: Rebecca Wenner
Agency Producer: Timothy Whitney
Director: Lukas Korver
Producer: Jason Halpin
Director of Photography: Matt B. Taylor
Sound: James Peterson
Editor: Lukas Korver
Asst. Editor: Jason Halpin
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PA: Mike Simons and Kevin Ralston
Louis Kahn, First Unitarian Church, Rochester, NY, (1962)
Louis Kahn was known for his infusion of culture and creating a sense of place within modern architecture. Although it may not be as well known as some of his other projects around the world, the First Unitarian Church in Rochester New York is one of Kahn’s most impressive works. Completed slightly after the Salk Institute in 1967, it replaced their previous church that was designed by Richard Upjohn, founder of the AIA, which was demolished during urban redevelopment in Rochester. The First Unitarian Church combines modern design aesthetic with traditional Unitarian values that promotes community and unites everyone at the heart of the building, the sanctuary.
When Kahn initially started meeting with members of the congregation, the pastor had described the Unitarian Church and its aspirations of rationalism, free will and thought, and the coexistence of science and religion. These meetings resulted in Kahn beginning to sketch on a chalkboard where he conceptually organized the church’s supporting spaces around a central question mark. In his eyes, the question mark symbolized the sanctuary where all the questioning would occur. It is a critical look at religion and the journey that one must embark on to find truth; questioning as the natural process.
In the spaces around the sanctuary Kahn situated classrooms for the school; these classrooms were what Kahn considered to be the origin from which the questions of Unitarianism were raised. The classrooms and sanctuary are bridged by an ambulatory that wraps around the sanctuary where conceptually all methods of thought and belief of the Unitarian church converge to thus be confronted and unearthed. It’s a theological architectural promenade of learning, thought, questioning, and discovery.
The First Unitarian Church, similar to all of Kahn’s projects, is of monumental quality; the church and school take on a dominant stance in Rochester. Kahn’s implementation of brick and cast-in place concrete gives the buildings a massive presence, but the heavy, monumental design presents issues on lighting the interior spaces, especially in places of worship.
Since the classrooms are oriented around the perimeter of the building, there is a sense of regularity by the way in which Kahn approaches lighting the classrooms. The façade has extruded window wells that filter the light within the classrooms. Each extrusion creates small seating spaces for the children within. With the sanctuary being in the center of the building, directing natural light into the space is quite difficult. However, Kahn design four light towers that are situated at each corner of the sanctuary. The towers act as filters that saturate the sanctuary throughout the day constantly changing the perceptive qualities of the space even as the seasons change.
In all of Kahn’s architecture, light has always been a main component of design, but the way he approached lighting the sanctuary interior complimented and provoked the expressive material qualities of the space. Kahn’s implementation of simple materials that do not require any extra detailing after their construction added to the atmosphere and character of the spaces ; he believe in the integrity of each material so much so that the cast-in place concrete would take on the formal qualities of the wood planks. The unfinished aesthetic seems to dematerialize the qualities of each space giving the spaces a new aesthetic found among the details and the light. In the sanctuary, the rough finish of the cast-in place concrete and the brick interior appear to wash away in the light, giving the light deconstructive properties, all the while giving the material luminous qualities that engulf and transform the space.
Even though the First Unitarian Church is not one of Kahn’s more famous buildings, it is just as impressive and spatially intriguing. From the design concept to the design of natural lighting systems are trademarks of Kahn’s architecture. The First Unitarian Church is one Kahn’s finest examples of how architecture can have transformative effects, not simply with light or design, but the theoretical understanding and restructuring of the use of space.
First Unitarian Church