Bruno Taut (Glas): First Crystal Chain Letter

Dear Friends,

I want to make this proposal to you: Today there is almost nothing to build, and if we can build anywhere, then we do it in order to live. Or are you lucky enough to be working on a nice commission? My daily routine almost makes me ill, and it is basically the same for all of you. As a matter of fact, it is a good thing that nothing is being built today. Things will have time to ripen, we shall gather our strength, and when building begins again we shall know our objectives and be strong enough to protect our movement against botching and degeneration.
Let us consciously be “imaginary architects”! We believe that only a total revolution can guide us in our task. Our fellow citizens, even our colleagues quite rightly suspect in us the forces of revolution. Break up and undermine all former principles! Dung! And we are the bud in fresh humus.
The individual personality will disappear with commitment to a higher task—if architecture reappears then the master builder will be anonymous.
I can see the beginning of this in our tendency to join and fuse together as a first cell, without asking—who did it? Instead, the idea exists in the realm of endless joy, remote and autonomous. The purpose of my proposal is to strengthen this existing unity. It is as follows:
Quite informally and according to inclination, each of us will draw or write down at regular intervals those of his ideas that he wants to share with our circle, and will then send a copy to each member. In this way an exchange of ideas, questions, answers, and criticism will be established. Above each contribution will be a pseudonym. The mutual sympathy within the circle and the use of terse language will make it difficult for outsiders to understand us. Nevertheless, we must agree not to reveal anything to uncomprehending eyes. Any request to expand the circle or to expel a member of the group should emerge from the contributions themselves. A single vote will suffice for an ex-pulsion, unless all the other members veto it in their next letters.
Let it be a magnet, the snowy core of an avalanche! If nothing comes of the idea, if I am deluding myself, then at least it will be a beautiful memory for each of us.
By the way: Whoever leaves the group before the whole thing comes to an end is obliged to return all the contributions he has accumulated either to me or another member, or to destroy them.
If you agree, could you sign and return this to me as soon as possible, together with the desired pseudonym. I will let you have the result immediately and—the thing will be under way.

With color and glass greetings,

Glas

24 November 1919

mitpress.mit.edu

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