Louis Kahn: Essential Texts

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Architecture - 288 pages
"Louis Kahn (1901-1974), arguably the last great modern American architect, lectured, wrote essays, was interviewed and appeared at panel discussions, and issued countless statements to the press. Kahn published a handful of essays, but he preferred public speaking - whether formal lecture or more often, seemingly improvised remarks. All was not as causal as it may have appeared, however; as with his building, which he rethought, reworked, and reconceived, he prepared typescripts that were usually the result of multiple drafts, and when he repeated a speech to a second or third audience, he rewrote it yet again. Louis Kahn: Essential Texts is a unique anthology of twenty pieces, some never before published, representing his essential thinking as it evolved. Robert Twombly's incisive introduction and headnotes reveal the dynamism of Kahn's language, elucidate his keen aphorisms and sometimes abstruse terminology, and offer a useful distillation of basic Kahnian tenets."--BOOK JACKET.
 

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When one looks at a Kahn building, there is something satisfyingly complete, serenely accurate, detailed to optimal emphasis; and that sense of perfection is so rare in architecture that it's an experience that launches the individual from the measureable, critique-able world into a kind of transcendental wonderment. One wonders how Kahn went about his work, but also his life, how he gleaned his years in the literal world, to make works that sublimate before our eyes. This book is somewhat of an insight into his universe-- but it is all the more important that Kahn himself navigates through the surprising and unknowable world if the infinite and intangible. While he converses with pithy material like brick, and deals directly with plastic realities of form-- he exposes his own bewilderment of the unseen processes of the human and natural world. He goes so far as to say that Practice is not related to Architecture, that art is something that Becomes You, rather than You Make It.
A beautiful insight into the mind and soul of a great artist, through his words. Tremendously inspiring, and an important break from this narrowing world of blinkered "science", empirical measurement and that haughtily named sorry habit-- management.
 

Contents

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
7
KAHNS SEARCH
9
Monumentality 1944
21
An Approach to Architectural Education 1956
32
Talk at the Conclusion of the Otterlo Congress 1959
37
Form and Design 1960
62
Are We Equipped? 1960
75
ILLUSTRATIONS
81
Lecture at Yale University 1963
162
Lecture at a Conference on Medicine in the Year 2000
169
Conversation with Karl Linn 1965
185
Lecture to the Boston Society of Architects 1966
197
Space and the Inspirations 1967
220
Silence and Light 1968 1969
228
The Room the Street and Human Agreement 1971
252
Address to Naturalized Citizens 1971
261

Discussion in Kahns Office 1961
97
The Nature of Nature 1961
119
Law and Rule in Architecture 1961 1962
123
Lecture at International Design Conference Aspen Colorado 1962
151
Lecture at Pratt Institute 1973
266
FOR FURTHER READING
281
INDEX
283
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Robert Twombly teaches at the Spitzer School of Architecture, The City College, New York City. He lives in West Nyack, New York.

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