99% Invisible: The Pool and The Stream | KALW

99% Invisible: The Pool and The Stream

Mar 9, 2018

It’s hard to say where inspiration comes from. The path from the seed of an idea to its execution is often a long one. The brilliant architect Alvar Aalto expressed this sentiment well, in an extended metaphor about a fish in a stream:

“Architecture and its details are in some way all part of biology. Perhaps they are, for instance, like some big salmon or trout. They are not born fully grown; they are not even born in the sea or water where they normally live. They are born hundreds of miles away from their home grounds, where the rivers narrow to tiny streams. Just as it takes time for a speck of fish spawn to mature into a fully-grown fish, so we need time for everything that develops and crystallizes in our world of ideas.”

This is a story about such an idea,  born hundreds of miles away in a far off stream. It is an idea that would travel from Northern Europe to Southern California, where it would take on a whole new life before making its way back again. [...]