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  7. AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn
AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

© Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle © Todd Eberle +14

  • Architects

  • Location

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Architect

    Louis Kahn
  • Rendering

    Ludvík Koutný
  • References

    Colin Davies, Klaus-Peter Gast
  • Project Year

    0
  • Photographs

From the architect. An architect celebrated for his breathtaking studies of light and materiality in the creation of memorable architecture, Louis Kahn did not fail to maintain his rigor in the Esherick House of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

© Todd Eberle
© Todd Eberle

Admired for it's spatial and luminous qualities, this is the first residence of its kind to convey the grand ideas of Kahn-style architecture. The two story dwelling, which is one of only nine private houses designed by Kahn to come into realization, rests on a lively six acre garden.

© Todd Eberle
© Todd Eberle

Kahn's fusion of materials, natural Apitong wood with manmade beige concrete, is true to his geometrically simple style which allows more emphasis to be placed on lighting and environmental context. The very orthogonal, monolithic composition is punctured by an irregular pattern of windows, revealing the warm interior. As is common in many styles of architecture, the interior walls are primarily white to accentuate the richness of the wood.

Designing the residence for a book lover, Kahn's open floor plan allows natural light to penetrate every corner through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The living room features built-in bookshelves that stretch up to the ceiling of the double-height space. A staircase that is reminiscent of Japanese architecture overlooks this living room space.

© Todd Eberle
© Todd Eberle

Kahn breaks the boundaries of the box in only two instances, both of which are chimneys that symmetrically protrude from opposite ends of the dwelling. His seemingly simple floor plan can be further analyzed into four strips which house the service spaces, dining areas, circulation, and living room.

Courtesy of ronan beckerman
Courtesy of ronan beckerman

When experienced from the outside, the windows hint to the contents of the internal double height spaces. Their primary purpose is to allow the flow of light while permitting views to the beautiful surrounding landscape.

© Todd Eberle
© Todd Eberle

In 1992, the house was awarded the distinguished honor of a Landmark Building Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1992. Photographer Todd Eberle was brought in by Richard Wright to capture the beauty of the dwelling, to be published in the auction catalogue. It was put up for sale in May of 2008, and sold for an estimated three-million dollars.

© Todd Eberle
© Todd Eberle
Cite: Megan Sveiven. "AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn" 30 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/202759/ad-classics-esherick-house-louis-kahn/>
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43 Comments

etezazian · October 05, 2013

i think that the Esherick House is not a house that has a room & living room & ....
no, it is a room that we want to created her to house.

Josh Neumann · November 29, 2012

Kahn’s Esherick House is an interesting example of how the human element can be taken into consideration when designing. The house has many similarities with Kahn’s other work (monument style mixed with modern materiality and technology) including his recognition as to how interior spaces should not only look, but feel. One thing that sparked my interest was how each interior space’s form responded to the function that it was thought to have. For example the living room space has a much higher ceiling to allow the sound of multiple people to fill the space comfortably.

savanah lundahl · November 29, 2012

Louis Kahn's Esherick House is fantastic but I would not much like to live there, like previous owners. Many modernist residential homes have been bought to museums as historical landmarks for people to come tour so they do not get torn down. For this I am glad, Louis Kahn design a gorgeous, simple elegant home that should be remembered and will teach us young designers what to look towards. Louis Kahn designed a great modernist house, with its open plan, creative use of lighting and garden spaces.

Paul Savidge · February 05, 2014 07:54 AM

Savanah, I am just now reading your comment on the Esherick house and despite your misgivings about living there, it will be my home as of Friday. I hope we find living in the original as wonderful as Janine, below, finds living in the copy. It is a magical place.

Janine Cody · March 10, 2013 06:01 PM

Since June of 2012, I have been living in a copy of the Esherick House built in the early 1960s outside of Pittsburgh. Of course, the materials, etc are not as fine, but as I write this I have the most beautiful views to the outdoors and light flooding in from almost every angle. Living in this home is an aesthetic wonder. This winter it often felt like we were inside a snow globe. The house is on 3.5 wooded acres. I so love it. The builder modified the plan to include 3 bedrooms upstairs and the fireplaces are in the central stack in front of the stairs. The gallery remains off of the master. Wish we has the wood Kahn used. Maybe we will slowly upgrade.

TsuiChin · June 20, 2012

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Arquitectura · May 04, 2012

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Xavier Ros Majo · May 04, 2012

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Jordi Noguera · April 04, 2012

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IIIE · March 28, 2012

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Arauco · February 24, 2012

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Revista COSTOS · February 18, 2012

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?? · February 17, 2012

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Anne Mager · February 09, 2012

#Archi >> un petit bijou >> Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/HbqRVktl

ArchitectureDemarest · February 07, 2012

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ppriolo · February 06, 2012

@ArchDaily Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kanh (1959-61). http://t.co/dvhdsCK3

merinosarquitecto · February 04, 2012

“@ArchDaily: AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/tFFwTq86 #architecture”Kahn ejemplificando claramente que es la modernidad

merinosarquitecto · February 04, 2012

“@ArchDaily: AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/tFFwTq86 #architecture”Kahn ejemplificando claramente que es la modernidad

kao · February 03, 2012

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Alexander Rosolik · February 02, 2012

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Chris Hall · February 02, 2012

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SHHolman · February 02, 2012

Not our non-res focus, but always admired Louis Kahn&#39s work http://t.co/kjcIiP0I Esherick House #architecture @aiaphiladelphia

Karissa Rosenfield · February 02, 2012

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jonathan lin · February 01, 2012

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/l2txHuHw still so chio #goal #ialsowannado

Bud Dietrich · February 01, 2012

Kahn use of materials & light us amazing. AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/mWCuukN3 via @zite

Alverina Weinardy · February 01, 2012

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Sam? · February 01, 2012

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simon jesson · February 01, 2012

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Matthew Grice · February 01, 2012

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McGregor Bowes · February 01, 2012

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hyde_architects · February 01, 2012

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helen · February 01, 2012

this house is undeniably great architecture. The use of materials and the planning alone are a reminder of why Kahn has become a seminal charachter in the study and teaching of architecture.

Mark Gardner · February 01, 2012

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mauro parolo · February 01, 2012

AD Classics: #Esherick #House / Louis #Kahn | ArchDaily http://t.co/Tj7rkQW4 via @archdaily evergreen very nice #project

Daniele Traverso · January 31, 2012

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Santi Maggio Savasta · January 31, 2012

Esherick House / Louis Kahn http://t.co/zwsqRyIn #Architecture #Architettura

Shkurenkov · January 31, 2012

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Jasem Nadoum · January 31, 2012

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#architecture
#LouisKahn
#Icon

Gill+Dudwadkar Arch. · January 31, 2012

Gorgeous! Timeless! It&#39s what inspires love for architecture.. AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn | http://t.co/ztJl5vAD v. @archdaily

?????(Archi-Docent) · January 31, 2012

one of my favorite Architectures. AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn | ArchDaily http://t.co/D8OZNRCD via @archdaily

Darwin Mendoza · January 31, 2012

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Hans van der Zande · January 31, 2012

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn | ArchDaily http://t.co/KIMkZu70 via @archdaily

Travel Writer · January 31, 2012

RT| AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn: © Todd Eberle
An architect celebrated for his breathtak... http://t.co/CekvBMUc @archdaily

Mike L · January 31, 2012

Great project, always loved Kahn's use of concrete and timber.

ps. That first picture is a render not a photo, guess you used it for it's "luminous qualities".

Ronen Bekerman · January 31, 2012

I did not know this house by Louis Kahn until 3d artist Ludvik Koutny showcased it on my blog... that feature image you use here on this post is actually a 3D RENDER of his, and not a photo... Although I'm sure he would take that as a complement!!! ;)

Ronen Bekerman · January 31, 2012 01:40 PM

sorry for the double comment...

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