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Definition: Kahn, Louis Isadore from Philip's Encyclopedia

US modernist architect. He followed the lead given by Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe, using bare concrete to create his severely beautiful designs. Kahn's greatest statement is undoubtedly the Jonas Salk Institute of Biological Studies in La Jolla, California (1959-65). See also modernism


Summary Article: Kahn, Louis Isadore from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(kän, ĭz'ədôr´´), 1901–74, American architect, b. Estonia. He and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1905, and he later studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania. From the 1920s through World War II, Kahn worked on numerous housing projects including Carver Court (1944), in Coatesville, Pa. He also planned the Yale Univ. Art Gallery (1953) and the American Federation of Labor Medical Building, Philadelphia. Kahn was widely acclaimed for his design of the Richards Medical Research Laboratories at the Univ. of Pennsylvania (1958–60). In this building he arrived at a new and dynamic integration of formal and functional elements, ingeniously relating mechanical services to the total architecture. Kahn eschewed the seemingly weightless International Style glass boxes of his time and created bold, dignified, and sometimes brooding or harsh structures of massed stone and concrete. His notable later designs include the Salk Institute (1965) in La Jolla, Calif., the Olivetti-Underwood Corp. factory (1969) at Harrisburg, Pa., the Kimbell Art Museum (1972), Fort Worth, Tex., and the monumental posthumously completed government complex (1983) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One of the major architects of his time, he also exerted wide influence over the next generations of American architects as a professor at Yale (1947–57) and the Univ. of Pennsylvania (1957-74).

  • See his notebooks and drawings, ed. by R. S. Wurman and E. Feldman (1962), Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews (1991), ed. by A. Latour;.
  • studies by V. Scully (1962), R. Giurgola (1975), P. C. Loud (1989), D. B. Brownlee and D. G. De Long (1991 and 1997), U. Buttiker (1994), K.-P. Gast (1999), K. Larson (2000), and S. W. Goldhagen (2001).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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