Louis Kahn retrospective premiers tomorrow in Rotterdam

Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn © Dave Morris

The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) will host the exhibition Louis Kahn, The Power of Architecture from September 8 to January 6, 2012. Louis Kahn is known to be one of the most influential architects of the 20th century and has inspired generations with his masterful use of space, light and material.

Among Kahn’s major works are the Salk Institute (California), the Kimbell Art Museum (Texas), the Indian Institute of Management (), and the Assembly Buildings for the Bangladeshi Parliament (Bangladesh). He designed these projects in the 1950s and 1960s at a time when the conviction of architects that their mission was to improve society was enormous. Kahn’s influence can be seen in the work of important architects such as Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, James Stirling, Mario Botta and Tadao Ando.

The exhibition will feature drawings, sketches, photographs, watercolors, film material and scale models by Kahn in an effort to show a broad public how important architecture can be for society. Fine more information on the exhibition here.

New York City’s first Kahn Structure nears Completion

Aerial image courtesy Amiaga Photographers, Inc. www.amiaga.com

Nearly 40 years after Welfare Island was renamed to honor President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the Four Freedoms Park is nearly complete. The four-acre park, located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in City, honors the 32nd U.S. President and the four essential freedoms he believed in. The legendary architect Louis I. Kahn , FAIA (1901-1974) was commissioned to design the memorial in the early seventies and completed the design right before his unfortunate death in 1974. As approached bankruptcy, the project was put on hold until March 29, 2010. Now, many are anxiously anticipating the park’s grand opening that will take place this Fall.

Continue after the break to learn about the story and design of Four Freedoms Park.

Films & Architecture: “My Architect”

This week we will propose the first documentary of the list within our section of Films & Architecture. There is not much to say about the figure of Kahn, since it has been worldwide recognized. Nevertheless this is a film that captures in a magnificent way the greatness of Kahn’s work through his son’s journey. I guess everyone related somehow with architecture will feel touched by this extraordinary recording. Let us know in the comments what is (or was) your experience watching the film.

AD Classics: Esherick House / Louis Kahn

© Ludvík Koutný

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

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.

More information on the Esherick House after the break.

Video: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn

This short film by Pablo Casals-Aguirre captures the formal perfection and daily life within ’s architectural masterpiece, the Salk Institute. Kahn was commissioned in 1959 to design the inspiring facility for scientific research. The iconic facility became a designated Historical Landmark in 1991 and continues to attract daily admirers from all corners of the earth.

Review detailed information, images and drawings at AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn.

AD Classics: Yale Center for British Art / Louis Kahn

Photo by joevare

Across the street from ’s first significant piece of architecture stands his last. The Yale Center for British Art was completed in 1974, the year of Kahn’s death and 23 years after its neighbor, The Yale University Art Gallery was finished. A style and theoretical change throughout a career is visible in one scene.

In Progress: Four Freedoms Park / Louis Kahn

Via Bloomberg

Last September, we shared the news of ’s memorial park for the southernmost tip of . Kahn had designed the park in the 70s, but after his sudden death, the plan was forgotten until 1992 when the MoMA featured the scheme in an exhibition.   Upon learning of Kahn’s thoughtful and architecturally compelling ideas to commemorate FDR and his Four Freedoms speech,  the public quickly advocated its completion.   As we reported earlier, at the end of Kahn’s axial tree-lined triangular “Garden”, a 72 sqf   “Room” will contain excerpts from the text of President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech.  This room, contained by 12 foot high granite columns, is meant for contemplation and remembrance as Kahn’s stoic material palette, clear formal attitude, and forced perspective of the skyline will create, what we imagine will be, a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.   With Kahn’s simple gestures, the memorial will preserve a time in American history where FDR’s leadership inspired hope to endure the Great Depression and the second World War.  We’re excited for the memorial to be completed and we’ll keep you up to date with its progress.

A great sample of construction photos and renderings after the break.

Louis Kahn on the Thoughtful Making of Spaces / Michael Merrill

From previously unpublished material and new analytic drawings this book explores Louis Kahn’s Dominican Motherhouse, his unbuilt masterpiece. Kahn pushed and prodded modern architecture into a crisis that questioned aspects of space that had proudly banished from its program. The Dominican Motherhouse is an exemplary exhibition of Kahn’s relentless questioning of architectural space: seeking the sources of its meaning in its social, morphological, landscape and contextual dimensions. The questions brought up again and again in this book are as pertinent today as they were Kahn was asking them.

Architecture City Guide: San Diego

This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to . It is home to the Salk Institute, one of ’s most well-known buildings, and Richard Neutra’s Airman’s Memorial Chapel. One could argue that these alone make a visit worth the trip. That said, we have put together a list of 12 great contemporary buildings that are also worth seeing. By limiting ourselves to 12 buildings we were not even able to include all the ones we have previously featured on our website. Take a look at our list and add to it in the comment section below.

Architecture City Guide: San Diego list and corresponding map after the break!

AD Classics: Kimbell Art Museum / Louis Kahn

© Parker

Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the by has become a mecca for all who are interested in modern architecture. The element of natural light is the main focus of the design, and creates elegant spaces that are perfectly suited for the art that it houses.

More on Louis Kahn and the Kimbell Art Museum after the break.

‘Six Architects’ posters by Andrea Gallo

Mies van der Rohe / © Andrea Gallo

We saw this incredible set of posters from iconic architects created by artist Andrea Gallo and felt the need to share them with you. They will be available for sale soon, so we look forward to buy one and decorate our office! Which one would you get? Check the posters of Frank Lloyd Wright, , , Alvar Aalto and Walter Gropius after the break.

Louis I. Kahn exhibition opens at Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles

© Robert C. Lautman

Today the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles (IIC) will celebrate the opening of the first comprehensive exhibition on the cultural connection of the iconic American architect Louis I. Kahn and Italy. Entitled Kahn in Venice, the show was co‐organized by the ICC and the Louis I. Kahn collection of the University of Pennsylvania Archives.

The exhibition was designed by Kahn protégés Barton Myers and David Karp, along with Yianna Bouyioukou of Barton Myers Associates. A charcoal sketch of the Palazzo, accompanied by a model, is the centerpiece of the show, which also includes a comprehensive collection of Kahn’s travel sketches in Italy. The exhibition will run through March 19, 2011. You can find more information here.

New Yorkers top Architectural Events of 2010

© Iwan Baan

This years architectural events in are bound to have a meaningful effect on the years to come; the decision by NYU to add another tower complementing I.M Pei’s existing Silver Towers complex (rather than their initial plan to demolish them), the opening of the first section of Brooklyn Bridge Park coupled with the completion of the High Line has re-established as a key model to reference when it comes to designing urban public space, and finally construction began on Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, by Louis Kahn, to name a few.

From transportation, urban planning, exhibitions, residential and office buildings follow the break to see the New Yorkers list of some of the most influential decisions surrounding architecture over the past year in New York.

AD Classics: First Unitarian Church of Rochester / Louis Kahn

© Ed Brodzinsky

Louis Kahn was known for his infusion of culture and creating a sense of place within modern architecture.  Although it may not be as well known as some of his other projects around the world, the First Unitarian Church in , is one of Kahn’s most impressive works.  Completed slightly after the Salk Institute in 1967, it replaced their previous church that was designed by Richard Upjohn, founder of the AIA, which was demolished during urban redevelopment in .  The First Unitarian Church combines modern design aesthetic with traditional Unitarian values that promotes community and unites everyone at the heart of the building, the sanctuary.

AD Classics: Indian Institute of Management / Louis Kahn

© Dave Morris

While was designing the National Assembly Building in Bangladesh in 1962, he was approached by an admiring Indian architect, Balkrishna Doshi, to design the 60 acre campus for the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India.  Much like his project in Bangladesh, he was faced with a culture enamored in tradition, as well as an arid desert climate.  For Kahn, the design of the institute was more than just efficient spatial planning of the classrooms; he began to question the design of the infrastructure where the classroom was just the first phase of learning for the students.

AD Classics: Yale University Art Gallery / Louis Kahn

©Pfeiffer Partners and Levin & Associates Architects

Known for his fusion of the International Style and personal poetic influences in his architecture, is notably one of the most respected architects of the 20th century. He often worked alongside engineers and contractors, which enabled his innovative designs to be structurally sound while continually advancing towards a new refinement.

One of his more famous structures and the first significant commission of Louis Kahn, the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, was designed when he was a visiting critic at the Yale School of Architecture as the first of three art museums to be designed and built. The project was built between 1951 and 1953.

With this Kahn was able to explore the ideas he had about transforming modern architecture which to him lacked the monumental and spiritual quality of ancient buildings. He was successful in his hopes of redefining architecture, as this building marks a significant turning point in the history of American museum architecture.

More on Yale University Art Gallery after the break.

AD Classics: National Assembly Building of Bangladesh / Louis Kahn

© Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Modernist architecture is traditionally understood to be utilitarian, sleek, and most of all without context, such that it can be placed in any context and still stay true to aesthetic principles and its functional requirements.  However, Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Building of in is an extraordinary example of modern architecture being transcribed as a part of Bangali vernacular architecture.  The National Assembly building, completed in 1982, stands as one of Kahn’s most prominent works, but also as a symbolic monument to the government of Bangladesh.

Progress on Four Freedoms Park / Louis Kahn

Courtesy FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Although the field of architecture continually  changes with advances in technology and shifts in society and culture, there rest a few names that seem frozen in time, as their ideas will continually influence generations of architects to come.  Of them, has been revered as a master of the 20th century and soon, his memorial park design of the 1970s will finally be completed in .    The memorial is named after FDR’s Four Freedoms speech from 1941 where he declares that “In the future days,….we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression–everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want–which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants–everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear–which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor–anywhere in the world.”

More about Kahn’s design after the break.