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 Kahn came to be considered by many as part of the pantheon of modernist architects which included Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. Kahn was born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky in Pärnu, in what is now Estonia. His family emigrated to Philadelphia when he was just a child, where Kahn would remain for the rest of his life, completing many of his later works there. Kahn might be categorized as a late Modernist, and a hugely influential one at that. In a trip to Europe in 1928, he took more interest in Medieval architecture such as castles and walled cities than in the emerging modernist scene there. In later life this translated to a depth and solidity to his architecture which in many ways resonates with the brick edifices of Alvar Aalto and the brutalist late works of Le Corbusier, who by the 1950s had moved away from his early, machine-led influences. Kahn is perhaps best known for the Four Freedoms Park in New York, was also finally finished posthumously in 2012.
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