|Died||March 17, 1974 73) (aged|
|Awards|| AIA Gold Medal |
RIBA Gold Medal
|Buildings|| Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban |
Yale University Art Gallery
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Phillips Exeter Academy Library
Kimbell Art Museum
|Projects||Center of Philadelphia, Urban and Traffic Study|
Louis Isadore Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) (March 5 [ O.S. February 20] 1901 – March 17, 1974) was an American architect, based in Philadelphia. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. While continuing his private practice, he served as a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. From 1957 until his death, he was a professor of architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.
An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.
Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
Kahn created a style that was monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings for the most part do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled. Famous for his meticulously built works, his provocative proposals that remained unbuilt, and his teaching, Kahn was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal and the RIBA Gold Medal. At the time of his death he was considered by some as "America's foremost living architect."
The AIA Gold Medal is awarded by the American Institute of Architects conferred "by the national AIA Board of Directors in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture."
Louis Kahn, whose original name was Itze-Leib (Leiser-Itze) Schmuilowsky (Schmalowski), was born into a poor Jewish family in Pärnu,formerly in Russian Empire, but now in Estonia. He spent his early childhood in Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa, then part of the Russian Empire's Livonian Governorate. At the age of three, he saw coals in the stove and was captivated by the light of the coal. He put the coal in his apron, which caught on fire and burned his face. He carried these scars for the rest of his life.
Pärnu is the fourth largest city in Estonia. Located in southwestern Estonia on the coast of Pärnu Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Livonia in the Baltic Sea. It is a popular summer holiday resort with many hotels, restaurants, and large beaches. The Pärnu River flows through the city and drains into the Gulf of Riga. The city was served by Pärnu Airport.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second-most-spoken Finnic language.
In 1906, his family emigrated to the United States, as they feared that his father would be recalled into the military during the Russo-Japanese War. His birth year may have been inaccurately recorded in the process of immigration. According to his son's 2003 documentary film, the family could not afford pencils. They made their own charcoal sticks from burnt twigs so that Louis could earn a little money from drawings.Later he earned money by playing piano to accompany silent movies in theaters. He became a naturalized citizen on May 15, 1914. His father changed their name to Kahn in 1915.
The Russo-Japanese War was fought during 1904–1905 between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over rival imperial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan and the Yellow Sea.
Kahn excelled in art from a young age, repeatedly winning the annual award for the best watercolor by a Philadelphia high school student. He was an unenthusiastic and undistinguished student at Philadelphia Central High School until he took a course in architecture in his senior year, which convinced him to become an architect. He turned down an offer to go to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to study art under a full scholarship, instead working at a variety of jobs to pay his own tuition for a degree in architecture at the University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts. There, he studied under Paul Philippe Cret in a version of the Beaux-Arts tradition, one that discouraged excessive ornamentation.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is a museum and art school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1805 and is the first and oldest art museum and art school in the United States. The academy's museum is internationally known for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Its archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training.
The University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design is the design school of the University of Pennsylvania. It is currently ranked 3rd in urban planning by The Best Colleges, 10th in urban planning by Planetizen, and 8th in architecture and 2nd in landscape architecture by DesignIntelligence. PennDesign offers degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, historic preservation, and fine arts, as well as several dual degrees with other graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania, including the Wharton School and Penn Law. The Weitzman School of Design is known for its distinguished faculty, which have included architects Louis Kahn and Robert Venturi and pioneer of landscape architecture Ian McHarg. Denise Scott Brown also graduated from the School of Design in 1960. On February 26, 2019, it was announced that the school has been renamed in honor of the contributions of University of Pennsylvania alumnus and fashion designer Stuart Weitzman.
Paul Philippe Cret was a French-born Philadelphia architect and industrial designer. For more than thirty years, he taught a design studio in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
After completing his Bachelor of Architecture in 1924, Kahn worked as senior draftsman in the office of the city architect, John Molitor. He worked on the designs for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition.
The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) is a bachelor's degree designed to satisfy the academic requirement of practicing architecture.
The Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition of 1926 was a world's fair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its purpose was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, and the 50th anniversary of the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
In 1928, Kahn made a European tour. He was interested particularly in the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, France, and the castles of Scotland, rather than any of the strongholds of classicism or modernism.After returning to the United States in 1929, Kahn worked in the offices of Paul Philippe Cret, his former studio critic at the University of Pennsylvania, and then with Zantzinger, Borie and Medary in Philadelphia.
In 1932, Kahn and Dominique Berninger founded the Architectural Research Group, whose members were interested in the populist social agenda and new aesthetics of the European avant-gardes. Among the projects Kahn worked on during this collaboration are schemes for public housing that he had presented to the Public Works Administration, which supported some similar projects during the Great Depression.They remained unbuilt.
Among the more important of Kahn's early collaborations was one with George Howe.Kahn worked with Howe in the late 1930s on projects for the Philadelphia Housing Authority and again in 1940, along with German-born architect Oscar Stonorov, for the design of housing developments in other parts of Pennsylvania. A formal architectural office partnership between Kahn and Oscar Stonorov began in February 1942 and ended in March 1947, which produced fifty-four documented projects and buildings.
Kahn did not arrive at his distinctive architectural style until he was in his fifties. Initially working in a fairly orthodox version of the International Style, he was influenced vitally by a stay as Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome during 1950, which marked a turning point in his career. After visiting the ruins of ancient buildings in Italy, Greece, and Egypt, he adopted a back-to-the-basics approach. He developed his own style as influenced by earlier modern movements, but not limited by their sometimes-dogmatic ideologies.
In 1961 he received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts to study traffic movement in Philadelphia and to create a proposal for a viaduct system.
He described this proposal at a lecture given in 1962 at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado:
In the center of town the streets should become buildings. This should be interplayed with a sense of movement which does not tax local streets for non-local traffic. There should be a system of viaducts which encase an area which can reclaim the local streets for their own use, and it should be made so this viaduct has a ground floor of shops and usable area. A model which I did for the Graham Foundation recently, and which I presented to Mr. Entenza, showed the scheme.
Kahn's teaching career began at Yale University in 1947. He eventually was named as the Albert F. Bemis Professor of Architecture and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956. Kahn then returned to Philadelphia to teach at the University of Pennsylvania from 1957 until his death, becoming the Paul Philippe Cret Professor of Architecture. He also was a visiting lecturer at Princeton University School of Architecture from 1961 to 1967.
Kahn was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1953. He was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1964. He was awarded the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1964. In 1965 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician. He was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1968 and awarded the AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the AIA, in 1971,and the Royal Gold Medal by the RIBA, in 1972.
In 1974, Kahn died of a heart attack in a restroom at Penn Station in Manhattan.He had just returned from a work trip to India. Owing to police miscommunications in both New York City and Philadelphia, his wife and his office were not notified until two days after his death. After his long career, he was in debt when he died.
Kahn had three children with three women. With his wife, Esther (1905-1996), whom he married in 1930, he had a daughter, Sue Ann. With Anne Tyng, who began her working collaboration and personal relationship with Kahn in 1945, he also had a daughter, Alexandra. When Tyng became pregnant in 1953, to mitigate the scandal, she went to Rome, Italy, for the birth of their daughter. [ citation needed ] Anne Tyng was an extremely talented architect and teacher, while Harriet Pattison was a pioneering landscape architect.With Harriet Pattison, he had a son, Nathaniel Kahn. Most biographical works on Kahn fail to describe the profound impact his female partners had on his designs.
Kahn's obituary in the New York Times written by Paul Goldberger mentions only Esther and his daughter by her as survivors. All of his children and their mothers attended the funeral. In 2003 Nathaniel Kahn released a documentary about his father, entitled, My Architect: A Son's Journey. The Oscar-nominated film provides views and insights into the architecture of Kahn while exploring him personally through people who knew him: family, friends, and colleagues. It includes interviews with such renowned architectural contemporaries as Muzharul Islam, B. V. Doshi, Frank Gehry, Ed Bacon, Philip Johnson, I. M. Pei, Vincent J. Scully, and Robert A. M. Stern. It also provides insights into Kahn's unusual and complicated family arrangements.
Google Map - location of Louis Kahn's Buildings
All dates refer to the year project commenced
Louis Kahn's work infused the International style with a fastidious, highly personal taste, a poetry of light. His few projects reflect his deep personal involvement with each. Isamu Noguchi called him "a philosopher among architects." He was known for his ability to create monumental architecture that responded to the human scale. He also was concerned with creating strong formal distinctions between served spaces and servant spaces. What he meant by servant spaces was not spaces for servants, but rather spaces that serve other spaces, such as stairwells, corridors, restrooms, or any other back-of-house function such as storage space or mechanical rooms. His palette of materials tended toward heavily textured brick and bare concrete, the textures often reinforced by juxtaposition to highly refined surfaces such as travertine marble. He is often well remembered for his deliberation about the use of brick, on how it can be more than the basic building material:
If you think of Brick, you say to Brick, 'What do you want, Brick?' And Brick says to you, 'I like an Arch.' And if you say to Brick, 'Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do you think of that, Brick?' Brick says, 'I like an Arch.' And it's important, you see, that you honor the material that you use. ... You can only do it if you honor the brick and glorify the brick instead of shortchanging it.
While widely known for the poetic sensibilities of his spaces, Kahn also worked closely with engineers and contractors on his buildings. The results often were technically innovative and highly refined. In addition to the influence Kahn's more well-known work has on contemporary architects (such as Muzharul Islam, Tadao Ando), some of his work (especially the unbuilt City Tower Project) became very influential among the high-tech architects of the late twentieth century (such as Renzo Piano, who worked in Kahn's office, Richard Rogers, and Norman Foster). His prominent apprentices include Muzharul Islam, Moshe Safdie, Robert Venturi, Jack Diamond, and Charles Dagit.
Many years after his death, Kahn continues to provoke controversy. Before his Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island was built,a New York Times editorial opined:
There's a magic to the project. That the task is daunting makes it worthy of the man it honors, who guided the nation through the Depression, the New Deal and a world war. As for Mr. Kahn, he died in 1974, as he passed alone through New York City's Penn Station. In his briefcase were renderings of the memorial, his last completed plan.
The editorial describes Kahn's plan as:
... simple and elegant. Drawing inspiration from Roosevelt's defense of the Four Freedoms—of speech and religion, and from want and fear—he designed an open 'room and a garden' at the bottom of the island. Trees on either side form a 'V' defining a green space, and leading to a two-walled stone room at the water's edge that frames the United Nations and the rest of the skyline.
A group spearheaded by William J. vanden Heuvel raised over $50 million in public and private funds between 2005 and 2012 to establish the memorial. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park officially opened to the public on October 24, 2012.
Kahn was the subject of the 2003 Oscar-nominated documentary film My Architect: A Son's Journey , presented by Nathaniel Kahn, his son. 127 Kahn's complicated family life inspired the "Undaunted Mettle" episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent .:
In the 1993 film Indecent Proposal , character David Murphy (played by Woody Harrelson), referenced Kahn during a lecture to architecture students, attributing the quote "Even a brick wants to be something" to Kahn.
Architecturally inspired ice cream sandwich maker Coolhaus, based in Los Angeles, California, named a cookie and ice cream combination after Kahn. Dubbed "Louis Ba-kahn", the sandwich consists of chocolate chip cookies and Brown Butter Candied Bacon ice cream. 126:
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, with collaborators Jenny Kallick and John Downey (Amherst College, class of 2003), composed the chamber opera Architect as a character study of Kahn. The premiere recording was due to be released in 2012 by Navona Records.
In Showtime's Billions (Season 4, Episode 6), Taylor Mason and Wendy Rhoades meet at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park and discussed Kahn's genius and his relationship with his estranged son.
Romaldo "Aldo" Giurgola AO was an Italian academic, architect, professor, and author. Giurgola was born in Rome, Italy in 1920. After service in the Italian armed forces during World War II, he was educated at the Sapienza University of Rome. He studied architecture at the University of Rome, completing the equivalent of a B.Arch. with honors in 1949. That same year, he moved to the United States and received a master's degree in architecture from Columbia University. In 1954, Giurgola accepted a position as an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, Giurgola formed Mitchell/Giurgola Architects in Philadelphia with Ehrman B. Mitchell in 1958. In 1966, Giurgola became chair of the Columbia University School of Architecture and Planning in New York City, where he opened a second office of the firm. In 1980 under Giurgola's direction, the firm won an international competition to design a new Australian parliament building. Giurgola moved to Canberra, Australia to oversee the project. In 1989, after its completion and official opening in 1988, the Parliament House was recognized with the top award for public architecture in Australia.
Phillips Exeter Academy Library is a library that serves Phillips Exeter Academy, an independent boarding school located in Exeter, New Hampshire. It is the largest secondary school library in the world, containing 160,000 volumes over nine levels with a shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes.
The Esherick House in Philadelphia, is one of the most studied of the nine built houses designed by American architect Louis Kahn. Commissioned by Margaret Esherick, it was completed in 1961.
Anne Griswold Tyng was an architect and professor. She is best known for having collaborated with Louis I. Kahn at his practice in Philadelphia, for 29 years. She served as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania for 27 years, teaching classes in morphology. She was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and Academician of the National Academy of Design.
Vincent Joseph Scully Jr. was an American art historian who was a Sterling Professor of the History of Art in Architecture at Yale University, and the author of several books on the subject. Architect Philip Johnson once described Scully as "the most influential architectural teacher ever." His lectures at Yale were known to attract casual visitors and packed houses, and regularly received standing ovations.
The architecture of Philadelphia is a mix of historic and modern styles that reflect the city's history. The first European settlements appeared within the present day borders of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 17th century with most structures being built from logs. By the 18th century brick structures had become common. Georgian and later Federal style buildings dominated much of the cityscape. In the first half of the 19th century, Greek revival appeared and flourished with architects such as William Strickland, John Haviland, and Thomas U. Walter. In the second half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture became popular with the city's most notable Victorian architect being Frank Furness.
Zantzinger, Borie and Medary was an American architecture firm that operated from 1905 to 1950 in Philadelphia. It specialized in institutional and civic projects.
"America's Favorite Architecture" is a list of buildings and other structures identified as the most popular works of architecture in the United States.
George Howe (1886–1955) was an American architect and educator, and an early convert to the International style. His personal residence, High Hollow (1914-1917), established the standard for house design in the Philadelphia region through the early 20th century. His partnership with William Lescaze yielded the design of Philadelphia's PSFS Building (1930–32), considered the first International style skyscraper built in the United States.
Oscar Gregory Stonorov, was a modernist architect and architectural writer, historian and archivist who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1929. His first name is often spelled "Oskar".
Galen Schlosser was an architect who lived in the East Falls and Mount Airy areas of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. He received his master's degree in architecture in 1936 from the University of Pennsylvania. He died in 2002 at the age of 90.
The Richards Medical Research Laboratories, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, were designed by architect Louis Kahn and are considered to have been a breakthrough in his career. The building is configured as a group of laboratory towers with a central service tower. Brick shafts on the periphery hold stairwells and air ducts, producing an effect reminiscent of the ancient Italian towers that Kahn had painted several years earlier.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is a four-acre (1.6 ha) memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt that celebrates the Four Freedoms he articulated in his 1941 State of the Union address. It is located adjacent to the historic Smallpox Hospital in New York City at the southernmost point of Roosevelt Island, in the East River between Manhattan Island and Queens. It was designed by the architect Louis Kahn.
August Eduard Komendant was an Estonian and American structural engineer and a pioneer in the field of prestressed concrete, which can be used to build stronger and more graceful structures than normal concrete. He was born in Estonia and educated in engineering in Germany. After World War II he immigrated to the United States, where he wrote several books on structural engineering and served as a professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Vanna Venturi House, one of the first prominent works of the postmodern architecture movement, is located in the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was designed by architect Robert Venturi for his mother, Vanna Venturi, and constructed between 1962 and 1964.
The Tribune Review Publishing Company Building was designed by architect Louis Kahn as the office and printing plant for the Tribune-Review newspaper in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Although not in his usual line of work, Kahn accepted the commission at the request of William Huff, an architect on his staff who was related to the newspaper's owner. The building is considered to be one of Kahn's relatively minor works, but it has some interesting features nonetheless. Kahn began work on the design in 1958 and the building was completed in 1962.
The Architectural Research Group (ARG) was an association of mostly young architects in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, established in 1932 by Louis Kahn and Dominique Berninger "for the group study of Housing and Slum Clearance." Berninger acted as its president during the whole of the group's brief existence, 1932 to 1935. Until 1932, both founders were employed by the Philadelphia firm of Zantzinger, Borie & Medary, with Kahn working on their U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C..
Charles E. Dagit Jr. is a contemporary American architect, artist, writer and professor. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects residing in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
The Estonian-born architect Kahn (1901–1974), who immigrated with his family to Philadelphia in 1906
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