Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ARCHITECT LOUIS KAHN'S SALK INSTITUTE


LOUIS KAHN, 1901-1974

The subject of this week's arts and culture column is Louis Kahn--who was a genius architect, and also had a compelling personal life.

Here's how the piece begins:

Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974), one of the most well-known architects of the 20th century, died of a heart attack in Penn Station at the age of 73. He was nearly bankrupt and on his way home from India.

He was born in Estonia. His family moved 17 times in his first two years of life, a pattern that repeated during his own nomadic adulthood.

Kahn was short (5 feet 6 inches) with a gravelly voice and conspicuous facial scars from burns sustained as a child. He was also magnetically charismatic and an almost fanatically hard worker.

“He was not controllable,” people said of him. “He didn’t know day from night.”

Symmetry, order, principled, fundamental, primitive and exhilarating were some of the words used to describe his work.

“It’s important that you honor the material you use,” he once told a group of students. “You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ and brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ ”

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

And don't miss Wendy Lesser's wonderful You Say to Brick.

KAHN'S PHILLIPS EXETER LIBRARY, 1965
I SPENT SOME TIME HERE STUDYING FOR THE NH BAR EXAM. 

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