Architecture for the search for knowledge.— One day, and probably soon, we need some recognition of what above all is lacking in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection. Places with long, high-ceilinged cloisters for bad or all too sunny weather where no shouting or noise of carriages can reach and where good manners would prohibit even priests from praying aloud—buildings and sites that would altogether give expression to the sublimity of thoughtfulness and of stepping aside. The time is past when the church possessed a monopoly on reflection, when the vita contemplativa always had to be first of all a vita religiosa; I do not see how we could remain content with such buildings even if they were stripped of their churchly purposes. The language spoken by these buildings is far too rhetorical and unfree, reminding us that they are houses of God and ostentatious monuments of some supramundane intercourse; we who are godless could not think our thoughts in such surroundings. We wish to see ourselves translated into stone and plants, we want to take walks in ourselves when we stroll around these buildings and gardens.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science §280