7 Pages

The Idea of a Town – again

WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter, the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author's essay on Roman towns was finally taking its awkward shape, though too long for a magazine article. An almost casual encounter rescued it. He much admired the youngish Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck, whose very poetic children's playground for the Amsterdam municipality. His interest in anthropology was analogous to him, but he had made a much heftier investment in it – which had involved a long field trip into Mali in search of the Dogon nation who lived on the upper reaches of the Niger. Their relative isolation allowed them to maintain ancient ways of building and of dwelling, while their complex ceremonial life and splendid masks had already attracted earlier anthropologists. He had come across one or two copies of the magazine Forum, whose editing he had taken over, and to which he had given a bracing visual charm.