Described in his New York Times obituary as having been one of America’s foremost living architects, architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) realized few buildings in his lifetime and died practically bankrupt. Despite this, he was hugely influential—a fact affirmed by interviews—with Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor and Sou Fujimoto—which are featured in the exhibition, Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture opening at the Design Museum London July 9.
The exhibition will explore Kahn’s work and legacy through architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films—bringing to life his singular career and diverse output.
Louis Kahn (1901-1974)
Kahn’s work will be examined through six broad themes including City: looking at his relationship with his adopted home of Philadelphia; Science: demonstrating his use of engineering and geometric structures; Landscape: showing the importance of nature within his work; House: taking in Kahn’s residential commissions; Eternal Present: placing him in the context of architectural history; and Community: examining his devotion to public buildings.
National Assembly Building, Ohaka
Salk Institute, California
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, New York
All of Kahn’s important projects are extensively documented, from his early urban planning concepts and single-family houses to late works such as the Roosevelt Memorial (1973-74), which was posthumously completed in October 2012.
Kahn’s greatest masterpieces all take the form of inspiring institutions: The Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, designed to be ‘a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso’; the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, a showcase for Kahn’s extraordinary ability to work with light; and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, testament to the incredible impact of his monumental style. Each project is fully represented in this exhibition, which seeks to bring one of the twentieth century’s greatest master builders to a new audience.
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture will be on view through October 12.