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Louis Kahn

AD Classics: Arts United Center / Louis Kahn

06:00 - 16 April, 2018
© Jeffery Johnson
© Jeffery Johnson

In 1961, the architect Louis I. Kahn was commissioned by the Fine Arts Foundation to design and develop a large arts complex in central Fort Wayne, Indiana. The ambitious Fine Art Center, now known as the Arts United Center, would cater to the community of 180,000 by providing space for an orchestra, theatre, school, gallery, and much more. As a Lincoln Center in miniature, the developers had hoped to update and upgrade the city through new civic architecture. However, due to budget constraints, only a fraction of the overall scheme was completed. It is one of Kahn’s lesser-known projects that spanned over a decade, and his only building in the Midwest. 

David Adjaye Honored with 2018 Louis Kahn Memorial Award

14:00 - 12 April, 2018
David Adjaye Honored with 2018 Louis Kahn Memorial Award, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture by Adjaye Associates. Image © Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture by Adjaye Associates. Image © Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

British architect Sir David Adjaye, Founding Principal of Adjaye Associates, will be honored as this year’s recipient of the Louis I. Kahn Memorial Award by the Center for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia. The annual award celebrates the achievements of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of architecture, while also celebrating the achievements of influential Philadelphia-based architect Louis Kahn.

Past recipients of the award have included Bjarke IngelsNorman Foster, Peter Bohlin, Daniel Libeskind, Robert A.M. Stern, Rafael Viñoly and César Pelli.

Is Religious Architecture Still Relevant?

09:30 - 12 April, 2018
Is Religious Architecture Still Relevant?, Salisbury Cathedral. Image© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/cathedraljack/37235357646'>Flickr user JackPeasePhotography</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Salisbury Cathedral. Image© Flickr user JackPeasePhotography licensed under CC BY 2.0

Some of the greatest architectural works throughout history have been the result of religion, driven by the need to construct spaces where humanity could be one step closer to a higher power. With more people choosing a secular lifestyle than ever before, are the effects that these buildings convey—timelessness, awe, silence and devotion, what Louis Kahn called the “immeasurable” and Le Corbusier called the “ineffable”—no longer relevant?

With the Vatican’s proposal for the 2018 Venice Biennale, described as “a sort of pilgrimage that is not only religious but also secular,” it is clear that the role of "religious" spaces is changing from the iconography of organized religion to ambiguous spaces that reflect the idea of "spirituality" as a whole.

So what does this mean? Is there still a key role for spirituality in architecture? Is it possible to create spaces for those of different faiths and those without faith at all? And what makes a space "spiritual" in the first place?

Who is Balkrishna (B.V.) Doshi? 12 Things to Know About the 2018 Pritzker Laureate

11:00 - 7 March, 2018
Who is Balkrishna (B.V.) Doshi? 12 Things to Know About the 2018 Pritzker Laureate, Le Corbusier and Balkrishna Doshi. Photo courtesy of Balkrishna Doshi.
Le Corbusier and Balkrishna Doshi. Photo courtesy of Balkrishna Doshi.

B.V. Doshi, one of modern Indian architecture’s most celebrated practitioners, was born in Pune, India in 1927. Nearly 90 years later, the Pritzker Prize jury chose Doshi as the 2018 Laureate. Get to know about Doshi’s history—including his close relationship to the legendary Le Corbusier—in this list of interesting facts.

Balkrishna Doshi Named 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate

09:55 - 7 March, 2018
Balkrishna Doshi Named 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate

This year’s Pritzker jury has selected Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, often known as B.V. Doshi or Doshi, as the 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate. Doshi has been a practitioner of architecture for over 70 years. Previously, he had studied and worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. Doshi’s poetic architecture draws upon Eastern influences to create a body of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury. Doshi is the first Indian architect to receive architecture’s highest honor.

Spotlight: Louis Kahn

06:00 - 20 February, 2018
Spotlight: Louis Kahn, Salk Institute. Image © Liao Yusheng
Salk Institute. Image © Liao Yusheng

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.

Salk Institute. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamsjung/3021667238/'>Flickr user dreamsjung</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Kimbell Art Museum. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/43508230@N00/3720242013/'>Flickr user grabadonut</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> National Assembly Building of Bangladesh. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Assembly_of_Bangladesh,_Jatiyo_Sangsad_Bhaban,_2008,_8.JPG'>Wikimedia Commons user Lykantrop</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Exeter Library (Class of 1945 Library) . Image via Wikimedia (Image from United States Library of Congress in public domain. Author Carol M Highsmith) + 17

The Renovation of Louis Kahn's Yale University Art Center: A Significant Moment for Architectural Preservation

09:30 - 19 January, 2018
The Renovation of Louis Kahn's Yale University Art Center: A Significant Moment for Architectural Preservation, © Elizabeth Felicella, courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery
© Elizabeth Felicella, courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "How the Restoration of Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery Helped Kickstart Modern Preservation."

I have a distinct memory from my days as an architecture student at the University of California Berkeley in the late ‘80s. During an architectural survey class taught by Spiro Kostof, Louis I Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery popped up in the slideshow. “Nice building,” I thought, “but what’s with those windows?”

Fifteen years later at Polshek Partnership (now Ennead Architects), I would become the project architect for the construction phase overseeing the rehabilitation of that classic building—the most challenging aspect of which was to replace “those windows.” I came to understand, intimately, how the double-paned window wall had failed almost as soon as construction was complete. Condensation accumulated between the panes, creating the foggy effect that marred my first impression of this groundbreaking building.

AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn

04:00 - 29 August, 2017
AD Classics: Salk Institute / Louis Kahn, © Liao Yusheng
© Liao Yusheng

In 1959, Jonas Salk, the man who had discovered the vaccine for polio, approached Louis I. Kahn with a project. The city of La Jolla, California had provided him with a picturesque site along the Pacific coast, where Salk intended to found and build a biological research center. Salk, whose vaccine had already had a profound impact on the prevention of the disease, was adamant that the design for this new facility should explore the implications of the sciences for humanity. He also had a broader, if no less profound, directive for his chosen architect: to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.” The result was the Salk Institute, a facility lauded for both its functionality and its striking aesthetics – and the manner in which each supports the other.[1,2]

© Liao Yusheng © Liao Yusheng © Liao Yusheng © Liao Yusheng + 20

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture

18:37 - 14 August, 2017
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Louis Kahn, 1962-83 © Raymond Meier
National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Louis Kahn, 1962-83 © Raymond Meier

The story of master architect Louis Kahn (1901 – 1974) is intrinsically connected to Philadelphia, where he spent most of his life and career. Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture is the first major retrospective of Kahn’s work in two decades, encompassing over 200 objects related to Kahn’s buildings and projects in the form of architectural models, plans, original drawings, photographs, and films. With complex spatial compositions and a choreographic mastery of light, Kahn created buildings of archaic beauty and powerful universal symbolism. The Fabric Workshop and Museum is proud to be the final venue of the international tour.

Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition

16:00 - 19 July, 2017
Little-Known Floating Concert Hall Designed by Louis Kahn Faces Demolition, © <a href='http://https://www.flickr.com/photos/spablab/3789270610/in/photolist-6LR18U-6fVSsc-6HZDsy-6LLR7H-6HZrQ7/'>Flickr user spablab</a>. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
© Flickr user spablab. Licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

One of Louis Kahn’s most unique and lesser-known projects, the floating concert hall known as Point Counterpoint II, is at risk of demolition, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Built from 1964 to ’67  as part of celebrations for the American Bicentennial, the 195-foot-long vessel has since been used as the waterborne home of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO), allowing the group to take their own venue places as far away as Paris, France and St. Petersburg, Russia. Along with circular doorways and portholes, the structure features a 75-foot-wide stage that can be opened and closed using a hydraulic lift system.

Inside the Bizarre Personal Lives of Famous Architects

09:30 - 29 May, 2017
Inside the Bizarre Personal Lives of Famous Architects, From left: © Robert C. Lautman; <a href='http://https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alvar_Aalto1.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain); Photograph by Al Ravenna <a href='http://https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frank_Lloyd_Wright_portrait.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain)
From left: © Robert C. Lautman; via Wikimedia (public domain); Photograph by Al Ravenna via Wikimedia (public domain)

Famous architects are often seen as more enigma than person, but behind even the biggest names hide the scandals and tragedies of everyday life. As celebrities of a sort, many of the world's most famed architects have faced rumors and to this day there are questions about the truth of their private affairs. Clients and others in their studios would get a glimpse into an architect’s personal life, but sometimes the sheer force of personality that often comes with creative genius would prevent much insight. The fact remains, however, that these architects’ lives were more than the sum of their buildings.

Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano: The Harmony Between Each Legend’s Kimbell Museum Wing

09:30 - 6 May, 2017

Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum is a masterclass in natural lighting, with thin-shelled concrete vaults that feature subtle openings to reflect light into the galleries below. While Kahn’s wing of the Fort Worth Museum opened in 1972, in 2013 a second Renzo Piano-designed pavilion was added to the complex. Piano was selected to design the addition because he had worked for Kahn as a budding architect, and the homage to his former mentor is evident in the building’s similar layout and use of translucent glass panels. In this video, architect-photographer Songkai Liu takes viewers on a serene stroll through the museum’s campus. Time-lapses and pans of Kahn’s concrete are juxtaposed with the clean details of Piano’s glass in a soothing exploration of the two complementary projects.

Fighting the Neoliberal: What Today's Architects Can Learn From the Brutalists

09:30 - 10 March, 2017
Fighting the Neoliberal: What Today's Architects Can Learn From the Brutalists, <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/790453/ad-classics-barbican-estate-london-chamberlin-powell-bon'>The Barbican</a> in London. Image © Joas Souza
The Barbican in London. Image © Joas Souza

In this second installment of his revamped “Beyond London” column for ArchDaily, Simon Henley of London-based practice Henley Halebrown discusses a potential influence that might help UK architects combat the economic hegemony currently afflicting the country – turning for moral guidance to the Brutalists of the 1960s.

Before Christmas, I finished writing my book entitled Redefining Brutalism. As the title suggests I am seeking to redefine the subject, to detoxify the term and to find relevance in the work, not just a cause for nostalgia. Concrete Brutalism is, to most people, a style that you either love or hate. But Brutalism is far more than just a style; it is way of thinking and making. The historian and critic Reyner Banham argued in his 1955 essay and 1966 book both entitled The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic that the New Brutalism began as an ethical movement only to be hijacked by style. Today, it is a mirror to be held up to the architecture of Neoliberalism, to an architecture that serves capitalism. More than ever, architecture relies on the brand association of the big name architects whose work has little to do with the challenges faced by society, which are today not unlike the ones faced by the post-war generation: to build homes, places in which to learn and work, places for those who are old and infirm, and places to gather. We can learn a lot from this bygone generation.

Dunelm House student union building in Durham, by the Architect's Co-Partnership. Image © <a href='http://www.geograph.org.uk/more.php?id=2935919'>Geograph user Des Blenkinsopp</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/791939/ad-classics-park-hill-estate-sheffield-jack-lynn-ivor-smith'>Park Hill</a> in Sheffield: left, in its original design; right, a section of the renovation. Image © Paul Dobraszczyk "Streets in the sky" at Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/3058342144/'>Flickr user stevecadman</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, Scotland, by Gillespie Kidd and Coia, here shown in its original state. Image Courtesy of GKC Archive + 10

Louis Kahn's Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

14:00 - 20 February, 2017
Louis Kahn's Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

In celebration of the life of Louis Kahn, who would have celebrated his birthday on this day, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has visited the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad – one of the architect's seminal projects, which was only completed after his death in 1974.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 46

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

07:00 - 10 October, 2016

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

10 Of The World's Most Spectacular Sacred Spaces

04:00 - 31 August, 2016
10 Of The World's Most Spectacular Sacred Spaces, Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0
Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0

Religion, in one form or another, has formed the core of human society for much of our history. It therefore stands to reason that religious architecture has found equal prominence in towns and cities across the globe. Faith carries different meanings for different peoples and cultures, resulting in a wide variety of approaches to the structures in which worship takes place: some favor sanctuaries, others places of education and community, while others place the greatest emphasis on nature itself. Indeed, many carry secondary importance as symbols of national power or cultural expression.

AD Classics are ArchDaily's continually updated collection of longer-form building studies of the world's most significant architectural projects. The collection of sacred spaces collated here invariably reveal one desire that remains constant across all faiths and cultures: shifting one’s gaze from the mundane and everyday and fixing it on the spiritual, the otherworldly, and the eternal.

Courtesy of Flickr user Arian Zweger under CC BY 2.0 Courtesy of Flickr user Futo-Tussauds under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia Courtesy of Flickr user Naoya Fujii under CC BY-NC 2.0 + 10

Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing

08:30 - 18 August, 2016
Studying the "Manual of Section": Architecture's Most Intriguing Drawing, Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis I. Kahn (1972). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects
Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis I. Kahn (1972). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects

For Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, the section “is often understood as a reductive drawing type, produced at the end of the design process to depict structural and material conditions in service of the construction contract.” A definition that will be familiar to most of those who have studied or worked in architecture at some point. We often think primarily of the plan, for it allows us to embrace the programmatic expectations of a project and provide a summary of the various functions required. In the modern age, digital modelling software programs offer ever more possibilities when it comes to creating complex three dimensional objects, making the section even more of an afterthought.

With their Manual of Section, the three founding partners of LTL architects engage with section as an essential tool of architectural design, and let’s admit it, this reading might change your mind on the topic. For the co-authors, “thinking and designing through section requires the building of a discourse about section, recognizing it as a site of intervention.” Perhaps, indeed, we need to understand the capabilities of section drawings both to use them more efficiently and to enjoy doing so.

Bagsværd Church by Jørn Utzon (1976). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier (1954). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects United States Pavilion at Expo '67 by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao (1967). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright (1959). Published in Manual of Section by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016). Image © LTL Architects + 15

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
Model of the unrealised Palazzo dei Congressi, Venice. Image

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.