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AD Classics: Palazzo dei Congressi / Louis Kahn

14:00 - 11 June, 2016
AD Classics: Palazzo dei Congressi / Louis Kahn, Model of the unrealised Palazzo dei Congressi, Venice. Image © Unidentified Source
Model of the unrealised Palazzo dei Congressi, Venice. Image © Unidentified Source

The city of Venice has been caught in a tug of war between progress and traditionalism for many years, and particularly since the construction of a railroad viaduct in 1846 linked the island city to the Italian mainland for the first time in its history.[1] Over a century later, the Venetian government commissioned Louis Kahn to design a new Palazzo dei Congressi for the city; his proposal, while paying respect to the histories of both the Republic of Venice and a unified Italy, could not escape similar controversy.

Model. Image © Unidentified Source This rough site plan for the building (1968-1974) is currently on the FBI's National Stolen Art File. Image via FBI Concept sketches. Image © Unidentified Source Plan of the Congress Hall +8

Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art Reopens After Restoration

16:20 - 16 May, 2016
Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art Reopens After Restoration, Yale Center for British Art, Library Court following reinstallation. Image © Richard Caspole
Yale Center for British Art, Library Court following reinstallation. Image © Richard Caspole

Louis Kahn’s Yale Center for British Art has reopened to the public after a multi-year restoration project led by Knight Architecture, LLC. The building, which began construction in 1969 and was completed after Kahn’s death in 1977, was designed to house Paul Mellon’s gift of British art to Yale University. According to the museum, “this was the most complex building conservation work undertaken at the Center to date, comprising the entire structure, from roof to basement. It renews the Center’s public galleries, internal systems, spaces, and amenities, and has provided an opportunity to reimagine and reinstall the Center’s renowned collections of more than five centuries of British art—the largest outside of the United Kingdom.”

Yale Center for British Art, fourth  oor, Turner Bay following rein- stallation. Image © Richard Caspole Yale Center for British Art, fourth  oor, Long Gallery following reinstallation. Image © Michael Marsland Yale Center for British Art, Library Court following reinstallation. Image © Richard Caspole Yale Center for British Art, exterior view (spring). Image © Richard Caspole +20

Louis Kahn's Roosevelt Island Memorial in the Firing Line Over Accessibility Dispute

16:00 - 15 May, 2016
Louis Kahn's Roosevelt Island Memorial in the Firing Line Over Accessibility Dispute, Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC
Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC

Throughout the four years since the opening of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, New York City Hall has been arguing with the nonprofit group, the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, over whether the park is adequately accessible to disabled people, reports The New York Times.

The park was designed from 1972 to 1974—before the advent of the American With Disabilities Act of 1990—by architect Louis Kahn, who died in Pennsylvania Station carrying the plans for the finished memorial. At its southernmost end the park features a 12-by-60-foot sunken terrace that, ironically, President Roosevelt himself would not have been able to use with his wheelchair.

Spotlight: Louis Kahn

08:00 - 20 February, 2016
Spotlight: Louis Kahn, Salk Institute. Image © Flickr user dreamsjung licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Salk Institute. Image © Flickr user dreamsjung licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Louis Kahn (February 20th 1901 - March 17th 1974) was one of the United States' greatest 20th century architects, known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments. Though he did not arrive at his distinctive style until his early 50s, and despite his death at the age of just 73, in a span of just two decades came to be considered by many as part of the pantheon of modernist architects which included Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

Louis Kahn's Notorious Richards Laboratory Restored

16:00 - 12 January, 2016
Louis Kahn's Notorious Richards Laboratory Restored, Richards Medical Research Laboratories in 2010, prior to restoration. Image © Wikipedia CC user Smallbones
Richards Medical Research Laboratories in 2010, prior to restoration. Image © Wikipedia CC user Smallbones

Louis Kahn's Richards Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, once deemed "the most consequential building constructed in the United States" since World War II by MoMA, has been notoriously hated by its users; scientists claim the building lacks privacy, has too much exposure to sunlight and is not suitable for lab experiments. Thus, the University's architect has just completed a full renovation of Richards' four brick towers, converting them into offices and computer labs for researchers, while, as Philly.com reports, restoring the structure to its original essence.

"The renovation has pared Kahn's spaces down to their essence, restoring a Zenlike calm, and revealing the muscular concrete structure that made the design such a revelation in the early 1960s, when International Style glass towers were all the rage," says Philly.com. Read the complete article here

The Tranquility of Louis Kahn's Salk Institute

16:00 - 8 September, 2015

Watching the sunrise over Louis Kahn's Salk Institute for Biological Sciences is arguably one of architecture's most transformative experiences. The famous building has become an emblem of tranquility in architecture thanks to its tremendous location in San Diego, California, a quality enhanced by the carefully planned symmetrical vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1962 and declared a national historic landmark in 1991, Kahn designed the complex to express an underlying sense of spiritualism, fusing influences from both the International Style and Brutalism anchored by a gently flowing river through the center of the design. Filmmaker-photographer Chang Kim explored the Salk Institute as a part of his series on influential Californian architecture, providing an opportunity to virtually experience the iconic institute.

AD Round Up: American Classics

11:00 - 4 July, 2015

Happy Fourth of July! In recognition of Independence Day in the United States, ArchDaily has assembled six of our favorite "American Classics." Featuring projects by Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Meier, each of these canonical works occupies a prominent place in twentieth-century American architecture. See them all after the break.

A+U 538: Kimbell Art Museum – Drawing Collection

20:00 - 15 June, 2015
A+U 538: Kimbell Art Museum – Drawing Collection

From the publisher. July 2015 issue of a+u is a special issue focused on the collection of drawings of Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kimbell Art Museum, completed in 1972, is one of Louis I. Kahn's later works. The issue features a set of construction drawings from the collection of Preston M. Geren's office who was the associate architect of the project.

The issue is composed of the drawings, photographs taken by our own photographers, two essays and an interview with two architects from Geren's office who worked on the project.

Seeming Inevitability: Reconsidering Renzo Piano’s Addition To Louis Kahn’s Kimbell

09:30 - 25 May, 2015
South view. Image © Robert LaPrelle
South view. Image © Robert LaPrelle

When Renzo Piano’s addition to the Kimbell opened in late 2013, critical responses ranged from “both architects at the top of their games” (Witold Rybczynski) to “generous to a fault” (Mark Lamster) to “distant defacement” (Thomas de Monchaux). In this excerpt from a special issue of Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, Ronnie Self gives a deeply considered assessment of the two buildings after a full turn of the seasons. The special issue also includes a review by Christopher Hawthorne of Johnston Marklee's plans for the Menil Drawing Institute, a review by David Heymann of Steven Holl’s expansion of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and an essay by Walter Hood and Carmen Taylor about Project Row Houses. Also featured are interviews of the directors of all four museums and their architects (Piano, Holl, Johnston Marklee, David Chipperfield, and Rice Building Workshop), making for a very comprehensive issue.

Piano’s main task was to respond appropriately to Kahn’s building which he achieved through alignments in plan and elevation and by dividing his project into two major bodies: a concrete walled, glass roofed pavilion facing Kahn and a separate, sod-roofed structure behind that should integrate a significant portion of the project with the landscape and thereby lessen its overall impact. Still, the loss of the open lawn that existed in front of the Kimbell where Piano’s building now stands is regrettable. Kahn’s Kimbell was conceived as a large house or a villa in a park, and unlike much of the abundant open and green space in the Fort Worth Cultural District, that park was actually used. Piano’s new outdoor space is more like a courtyard – more contained and more formal. It is more urban in its design, yet less public in its use.

Aside from lamenting the loss of the open lawn, how might we judge the addition?

View of the double staircase leading to the lower level. Image © Robert Polidori View from the southwest. Image © Robert LaPrelle Lobby view, looking south. Image © Nic Lehoux Detail of roof and beam system. Image © Robert LaPrelle +33

In Conversation With Sheila O'Donnell And John Tuomey, 2015 Royal Gold Medallists

01:00 - 6 February, 2015
In Conversation With Sheila O'Donnell And John Tuomey, 2015 Royal Gold Medallists, John Tuomey and Sheila O'Donnell - recipients of the 2015 Royal Gold Medal. Image Courtesy of RIBA
John Tuomey and Sheila O'Donnell - recipients of the 2015 Royal Gold Medal. Image Courtesy of RIBA

When Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey, who practice in partnership as O'Donnell + Tuomey, were named as this year's recipients of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, a palpable collective satisfaction appeared to spread throughout the profession. No one could find criticism in Joseph Rykwert and Níall McLaughlin's nomination, nor the ultimate choice of the RIBA Honours Committee, to bestow the award upon the Irish team. Their astonishingly rigourous body of work, compiled and constructed over the last twenty five years, has an appeal which extends beyond Irish and British shores. A robust stock of cultural, community and educational projects, alongside family homes and social housing projects, leaves little doubt about the quality, depth and breadth of their mutual capabilities and the skill of those that they choose to collaborate with.

Read the conversation with the Gold Medallists after the break.

Ground sketch, Venice Biennale 2012 (Common Ground). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Sketch, Glucksman Gallery (Cork, Ireland). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Watercolour sketch, Ireland. Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey Sketch Plan of the Saw Swee Hock Centre (London). Image © O'Donnell + Tuomey +21

AD Round Up: Classics in Brick

11:00 - 30 January, 2015
AD Round Up: Classics in Brick, Colònia Güell / Antoni Gaudí. Image © Samuel Ludwig
Colònia Güell / Antoni Gaudí. Image © Samuel Ludwig

As one of the most ubiquitous forms of construction, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the humble brick. However, this prosaic building method can also be one of the most versatile materials available to architects, thanks to the experimentation of countless architects who, for centuries, have worked to create new forms of expression with the simple material. In this round up, we celebrate architects who, with their architectural classics, have expanded the possibilities of brick craft: Antoni Gaudí's fantastical vaulting at Colònia Güell and Alvar Aalto's experimental brick patterning at his house in Muuratsalo; the powerful brick piers of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's Knights of Columbus Building and the Catalan vaults of Porro, Garatti and Gattardi's National Arts School of Cuba; and finally, what brick round up would be complete without the brick-whisperer himself - Louis Kahn and his all-brick fortress for the Indian Institute of Management.

Muuratsalo Experimental House / Alvar Aalto. Image © Nico Saieh Knights of Columbus Building / Kevin Roche & John Dinkeloo. Image © Flickr: username- sftrajan The National Art Schools of Cuba / Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, Roberto Gottardi. Image © Norma Barbacci/World Monuments Fund Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn. Image © Wikimedia Commons +7

New Republic Honors Great Thinker Louis Kahn

00:00 - 21 November, 2014
New Republic Honors Great Thinker Louis Kahn, AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn. Image © Liao Yusheng
AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn. Image © Liao Yusheng

New Republic has presented a list of 100 great thinkers from the past 100 years. The list, as the magazine puts it, honors “people we believe have made the greatest intellectual contributions to the fields and causes that this magazine holds dear.” One of these fields is architecture, and New Republic’s honoree for that category is the illustrious Louis Kahn. Kahn is famous for projects such as the Kimbell Museum and the Salk Institute. His work displays what architecture critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen describes as a “cognitively rich, metaphorically complex, multi-sensorial approach.” Curious to see who else made the list? See the full roster here!

Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

00:00 - 25 August, 2014
Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute , © Liao Yusheng
© Liao Yusheng

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is partnering with the Salk Institute to help develop techniques for conserving one of Louis Kahn’s finest works. Overlooking the Pacific coast in La Jolla, California, Kahn took advantage of the peaceful surroundings and natural light when he designed the Salk Institute site. However, these same marine elements also provide unique conservation challenges for the concrete and wood structure, particularly for its teak window walls, the Getty Trust reports.

Part of the GCI’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, the project will determine the condition of the teak and develop recommendations for its treatment and long-term conservation. “Partnering with the Salk Institute on this conservation challenge will assist in developing new approaches for practitioners in conserving other icons of modern architecture, which makes it a terrific project for us,” said Susan Macdonald, Head of Field Projects at the GCI. 

 Read on after the break to learn more about the conservation initiative. 

Four Freedoms Park: Louis Kahn's "Ancient Temple Precinct" in NYC

00:00 - 4 July, 2014
Four Freedoms Park: Louis Kahn's "Ancient Temple Precinct" in NYC, Aerial Rendering Prior to Completion. Image Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC
Aerial Rendering Prior to Completion. Image Courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC

Built four decades after Louis Kahn's death, New York City's Four Freedoms Park - the architect's posthumous memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his policies - is becoming one of the architect's most popular urban spaces. In a recent article for the GuardianOliver Wainwright investigates what he describes as perhaps Kahn's "best project". Wainwright's spatial description of the monument is interweaved by fragments of Kahn's personal history, building up a picture of a space with "the feel of an ancient temple precinct" and "a finely nuanced landscape". Although Gina Pollara, who ultimately realised the plans in 2005, argues that Four Freedoms Park "stands as a memorial not only to FDR and the New Deal, but to Kahn himself", can a posthumous project ever be considered as an architect's best? Read the article in full here.

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building "Ruins"

01:00 - 18 June, 2014
Tower House . Image © Art Gray
Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break. 

Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Stone Creek Camp. Image © Art Gray +15

VIDEO: Kengo Kuma on Architecture, Materials And Music

00:00 - 19 May, 2014

In Kengo Kuma’s work you may see influences of light, transparency and materiality. But when visiting the Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego, Kengo Kuma shared a few of his not so apparent influences, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn to jazz music. Make sure to view “Knowing Kuma” to see the architect’s definition of architecture, materials and more.

9 Architects Reflect on the Homes That Most Inspired Them

01:00 - 1 May, 2014
The homes that inspire architects.
The homes that inspire architects.

Where do you receive inspiration? Nalina Moses asked the question to nine contemporary residential architects, asking each to choose one residence that had left an impression on them. The following answers were first published on the AIA’s website in the article “Homing Instinct."

When nine accomplished residential architects were asked to pick a house—any house—that has left the greatest impression on them as designers, most of their choices ran succinctly along the canon of American or European Modern architecture. Two—Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea and Pierre Chareau’s La Maison de Verre—were even tapped twice. 

If the houses these designers chose weren’t surprising, the reasons they chose them were. Rather than groundbreaking style or technologies, what they cited were the moments of comfort, excitement, and refinement they offered: the restful proportions of a bedroom, the feel of a crafted wood handrail, an ocean view unfolding beyond an outdoor stair.

Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture

00:00 - 17 April, 2014
Exhibition: Louis Kahn / The Power of Architecture

The American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.