The 'Power of Architecture’: Louis Kahn Exhibition

The 'Power of Architecture’: Louis Kahn Exhibition
Salk Instutute in La Jolla, California, Louis Kahn 1959-65 C. The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania / © John Nicolais

Celebrating one of the great master builders of the twentieth century, the Louis Kahn exhibition is taking place now until November 8, 2013. The 'Power of Architecture’, presented by the Vitra Design Museum is the first major retrospective of Kahn’s work in two decades. The exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, photographs and films. All of Kahn’s important projects are extensively documented — from his early urban planning concepts and single-family houses to monumental late works. More information after the break.

Living Room of the Norman and Doris Fisher House, Hatboro, Pennsylvania, Louis Kahn, 1960-67 / © Grant Mudford

They bear witness to the fact that Kahn’s spatial concepts were always physical manifestations of his social and political ideas, above and beyond their designated functions. Taken as a whole, the seven sections of the exhibition reveal a new view of Louis Kahn’s oeuvre that defies the common classifications of modernism or postmodernism. Kahn’s uniqueness lies in his syn-thesis of the major conceptual traditions of modern architecture — from the École des Beaux-Arts and the constructive rationalism of the nineteenth century to the Arts and Crafts movement and Bauhaus modernism — enhanced by the consideration of indigenous, non-western building traditions. Kahn gained important impulses from architectural movements such as metabolism or brutalism.

National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Louis Kahn, 1962-83

He anticipated aspects of building that are highly relevant today, including a return to local resources and ‘soft’ factors such as air, light and water. He saw himself as part of a tradition that spanned thousands of years and that understood architecture not only as a means of satisfying utilitarian needs, but as an instrument of artistic speculation and a means of contemplating nature, history and human community.

The exhibition is a cooperation of the Vitra Design Museum, the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the NAI part of The New Institute, Rotterdam. Vitra Design Museum thanks global sponsor Swarovski for its generous support as part its cultural programme, which makes an important contribution to the rediscovery of a seminal architect.

For more information, please visit here.

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Cite: "The 'Power of Architecture’: Louis Kahn Exhibition" 18 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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