Letter from Niger

Dear Family,
Today, coming back from a morning of measuring plots around Fandou-Berri, as we approached the village I was struck by a familiar sight. I was looking from a vista at the paths that crisscross this way and that in the valley below the village. The paths lead from all different parts of the village to the wells, to the market-place, to other villages, to the fields, to anywhere a villager could possibly want to go. I couldn’t nail down the déjà vu until I realized that the paths are much like those in Harvard Yard. I remember being told that when Le Corbusier came to build the Carpenter Center, he spent too much of his time marveling at the paths in the Yard. In the Yard, one can step out of any building and walk in a straight line to almost any other place one wants to go. This was accomplished by simply paving over where people most commonly walked. Le Corbusier saw great beauty in the paths. I find the paths of Fandou-Berri very beautiful and very familiar. If any of you visit I think you’ll see what I mean.


Tom Kelly (Niger 1986-88)

NOTE: The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University was designed by world-renowned architect Le Corbusier. The Carpenter Center contains studios for painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, conceptual practice, as well as other arts.