Kahn, Louis I.

▪ American architect
in full  Louis Isadore Kahn  
born Feb. 20, 1901, Osel, Estonia, Russian Empire
died March 17, 1974, New York, N.Y., U.S.
 American architect whose buildings, characterized by powerful, massive forms, made him one of the most discussed architects to emerge after World War II.

      Kahn's parents immigrated to the United States when he was a child. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1924 and later toured Europe, studying and sketching architectural monuments. In 1941 he was in partnership with George Howe and from 1942 to 1944 with Howe and Oscar Stonorov.

      Kahn designed private residences and worker housing in the 1930s and '40s. He became a professor of architecture at Yale University in 1947. After a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (1950), which deepened his appreciation of Mediterranean architecture, Kahn carried out his first important work: the Yale University Art Gallery (1952–54) at New Haven, Conn., which marked a notable departure from his International Style buildings of the previous decade.

      In 1957 Kahn was named professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. His Richards Medical Research Building (1960–65) at the university is outstanding for its expression of the distinction between “servant” and “served” spaces. The servant spaces (stairwells, elevators, exhaust and intake vents, and pipes) are isolated in four towers, distinct from the served spaces (laboratories and offices). Laboratory buildings had been designed this way for decades; Kahn elevated this practical feature into an architectural principle. His mature style, best exemplified by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif. (1959–65), and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (1977), combined the servant-served typology with inspiration from classical and medieval architecture, basic geometric forms, and an elegant, expressive use of such familiar materials as concrete and brick.

      Kahn's work, like that of Eero Saarinen, Frei Otto, and others who broke with the International Style, was controversial during his lifetime. However, his work was reviewed more favourably by a new generation of critics, who declared him one of the most original and important architects of the 20th century.

      The Louis I. Kahn Archive, 7 vol. (1987), contains drawings, sketches, and blueprints. Collections of published and previously unpublished writings and lectures are What Will Be Has Always Been (1986), edited by Richard Saul Wurman, and Louis I. Kahn (1991), edited by Alessandra Latour.

Additional Reading
Studies of his life and work include Vincent J. Scully, Louis I. Kahn (1962), a biography; and two exhibition catalogs: Patricia Cummings Loud, The Art Museums of Louis I. Kahn (1989); and David B. Brownlee and David G. De Long (eds.), Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture (1991), a definitive overview.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • KAHN, LOUIS I. — KAHN, LOUIS I. (1901–1974), U.S. architect. Born on the island of Osel (Saaremaa), Estonia, he was taken to the U.S. in 1905. After traveling in Europe he worked with Paul Cret, an academic architect, and later became an expert in city planning.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • KAHN, LOUIS — (1895–1967), French general and naval engineer. Born in Versailles, Kahn commanded a battery in World War I and was wounded twice. After the war, he graduated as a maritime engineer and helped construct the first modern French cruisers. Head of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • KAHN, Louis — (1901 1974)    Louis Kahn is best known for infusing a subtle poetic grace to modern architecture. Using mainly concrete, he provided a gentle rhythm to his designs, and that practice made him a famous architect of museums, where the gallery… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Kahn, Louis — (1901 74)    American architect, of Estonian origin. Born in Osel, Estonia, he came to the US at the age of four. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked in various architectural offices. He later taught architecture at Yale… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Kahn, Louis l. — ► (1901 74) Arquitecto estadounidense. Autor del Centro social y deportivo de Trenton …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kahn,Louis Isadore — Kahn (kän), Louis Isadore. 1901 1974. Estonian born American architect whose bold monumental designs include the Yale University Art Gallery (1954) and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (1972). * * * …   Universalium

  • Kahn, Louis I(sadore) — born Feb. 20, 1901, Osel, Estonia, Russian Empire died March 17, 1974, New York, N.Y., U.S. Estonian born U.S. architect. He came to the U.S. as a child and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. One of the century s most original… …   Universalium

  • Kahn, Louis I(sadore) — (20 feb. 1901, Osel, Estonia, Imperio ruso–17 mar. 1974, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Arquitecto estadounidense de origen estonio. Llegó a EE.UU. siendo un niño y se graduó de la Universidad de Pensilvania. Uno de los arquitectos más originales del …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Louis Kahn — Louis Isadore Kahn (* 20. Februar 1901 in Kuressaare auf Saaremaa, Estland; † 17. März 1974 in New York) war ein bedeutender US amerikanischer Architekt, Stadtplaner und Hochschullehrer. Sein Arbeitsschwerpunkt waren öffentliche Bauten. Er war… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Louis Khan — Louis Isadore Kahn (* 20. Februar 1901 in Kuressaare auf Saaremaa, Estland; † 17. März 1974 in New York) war ein bedeutender US amerikanischer Architekt, Stadtplaner und Hochschullehrer. Sein Arbeitsschwerpunkt waren öffentliche Bauten. Er war… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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