Louis Kahn was one of the most celebrated personalities of the twentieth century Architecture. The impact that he made with some of his plant was so singular that he was justly compared with Corbusier and Mies Van Der Rohe. Louis Kahn ‘s work made immense impact specifically on the younger coevals who were more willing to seek out the non-traditional manner of planing edifices. Louis Kahn genuinely believed that all designers should boom for alone excellence which would assist them do an ever-lasting impact on the society, as seen by the plants of Greeks and Eygpt. Keeping this end in head, Louis Kahn devoted his full calling in seeking flawlessness and pursing excellence.

Louis Kahn ‘s best plants are located in India, US and Bangladesh and by the way they were produced in last two decennaries of his calling. His works represent precise integrating and assembly of construction, a soundless esteem for stuffs and visible radiations, a dedication to classical geometry, and a great trade of concern for human values [ 1 ] . Louis Kahn was considered a puzzling mind or more like a philosopher who wanted to convey out alteration in the field of Architecture.



Born in 1901 in Estonia, Russia, Louis Isadore Kahn is considered to be one of the most influential designers of the 2nd half of the 20th century throughout the universe [ 2 ] . Louis Kahn migrated to the U.S. along with his household in his early old ages ( in 1905 ) . After finishing his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1924, Louis Kahn started his calling as a draftsman and subsequently worked as caput interior decorator in several other houses in Philadelphia [ 3 ] . He besides worked in the offices of Philadelphia ‘s prima designers, Paul Cret ( 1929-1930 ) and Zantzinger, Borie and Medary ( 1930-1932 ) [ 4 ] . In the latter half of 1930 ‘s Louis Kahn served as a private adviser to the Philadelphia and The United States Housing Authority. His cognition in modern architecture expanded when Kahn worked with European emigrants Alfred Kastner and Oskar Stonorov. In the early 1940s Louis Isadore Kahn associated with Stonorov and George Howe, with whom Louis Isadore Kahn designed several wartime lodging undertakings [ 5 ] . Kahn was non merely an American designer, but was besides an pedagogue and philosopher. Until 1947, Kahn had worked with a series of spouses, after which, Kahn set up his independent/private pattern. It was during this twelvemonth, that Kahn besides began with his influential instruction calling atYale University as Chief Critic in Architectural Design and Professor of Architecture ( 1947-1957 ) and so at the University of Pennsylvania as Cret Professor of Architecture ( 1957-1974 ) . [ 6 ]


Kahn wanted to redefine the bases of architecture through a re-examination of construction, signifier, infinite, and visible radiation ; since his earlier work abstained from the international manner modernism.

Earlier plants of Kahn had a traditional international manner of architecture. However someplace in the center of his calling, Kahn turned his dorsum on this traditional attack and pursued invention by redefining the usage of construction, light, signifier and infinite. “ Louis Kahn described his pursuit for meaningful signifier as a hunt for “ beginnings, ” a religious resource from which modern adult male could pull inspiration ” [ 7 ] . It is widely believed that Louis Kahn, who was so a Resident Architect at the American Academy in Rome, was highly impressed by the amazing architectural efforts of Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans and this triggered the alteration in his attack of planing the edifices [ 8 ] .

Other experts believe Kahn was besides influenced by the portion of Philadelphia where he grew up. There were many factory edifices with big Windowss. These brick constructions were really solid. This industrial design is evident in several of Kahn ‘s early plant. [ 9 ]

The impact of this European experience can been seen in Louis Kahn ‘s latter works. The work undertaken by him in last two decennaries of his life demonstrated a sincere desire to make a sense of topographic point, showcased the true side of construction, and demonstrated the successful application of Platonic geometry rules. Louis Kahn must be credited for re-introducing assorted constructs which most of the modern designers had deserted like centralised infinites, utilizing extended geometric rules and showing solid mural strength. [ 10 ] Kahn ‘s edifices are admired for outstanding usage of geometric forms and implementing Platonic geometry rules which creates brilliant experience for the users [ 11 ] .

Louis Kahn is credited in re-defining modern architecture in more than one ways [ 12 ] . For e.g.

  • Kahn was known to appreciate the visual aspect and feel of different stuffs that he used in his work. Kahn is besides known to hold used brick and concrete extensively and his advanced use of these stuffs demonstrated his endowment to the universe.
  • Kahn realised the importance of sunshine and was extremely impressed by its use in Egyptians and Greek plants. Hence Kahn ‘s plants demonstrates wide-scale execution of sunshine through different sorts of interesting Windowss and gaps.
  • Egyptian works besides inspired Kahn to utilize extended geometric forms and hence we find many of his edifices taking form of squares, circles or trigons.

Louis Kahn ‘s vision on how an designer can do difference to his design can be seen from the maestro ‘s ain words. “ A edifice is like a human, an designer has the chance of making life. The manner the brass knuckss and articulations come together make each manus interesting and beautiful. In a edifice these inside informations should non be put in a mitten and hidden. Space is architectural when the grounds of how it is made is seen and comprehended. “ [ 13 ]


All these elements of design doctrine can be seen in all the plants of Louis Kahn get downing from his first mature work – the add-on to the Yale University Art Gallery ( New Haven, Connecticut, 1951-1953 ) . This is considered to be Kahn ‘s first architectural chef-d’oeuvre where one can see that much prominence has been give to the structural inventions demonstrated by hollow tetrahedral concrete ceiling and floor slab system, which was a mater-piece, a antic design of puting the mechanical and electrical systems. [ 14 ] Kahn ‘s brilliant artistic sense can be seen from the design of the triangle-shaped stairway which sits in a rounded concrete shell, specifying the servant infinite to be distinguished from the served infinites of the edifice. Richards Medical Research Building at the University of Pennsylvania ( 1957-1965 ) and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies ( LaJolla, California, 1959-1965 ) demonstrated brilliant usage of infinites and is the chiefly responsible for the beginning of the phrase ‘served and servant infinites ‘ . [ 15 ]

Kahn applied his rules to make chef-d’oeuvres, which made a great trade of sense to the use of infinite and visible radiation. His edifices, like the Yale Art Gallery extension ( 1951-53 ) or the Trenton Boathouse in New Jersey ( 1954-59 ) or even the Richards Medical Towers in Philadelphia ( 1957-62 ) , create amazing effects with the alteration in visible radiation, all possible due to the intelligent usage of infinite and visible radiation. As a consequence, the user gets an wholly different experience of working in the edifice during different times of a twenty-four hours. By building Salk Institute in La Jolla, California ( 1959-67 ) , Kahn created another chef-d’oeuvre which had inordinately animating sequence of edifices.

Richards Medical Towers – This edifice demonstrates many cardinal elements of Louis Kahn ‘s architecture. All these elements have been used before by other designers but non all at the same clip. Through this construction, Kahn demonstrates the application of retainer and served infinites, overcomes the job of in sufficient lighting and more significantly integrates signifier, stuff, and procedure. As stated by Romaldo Giurgola and Jaimini Mehta, “ Richards Medical Towers represents a important turning point in modern-day architecture. “ [ 16 ]

Salk Institute in La Jolla – This peculiar edifice emphasizes the rule, “ Keep it simple and strong ” . Through this edifice, Kahn has achieved amazing usage of infinite, may it be the infinite available for Laboratories where research is conducted, or may it be the office infinite where thoughts arise. This institute shows a fantastic coaction of head and action. The edifice ‘s beautiful concrete surfaces guarantee precise particularization and brilliant experience. The construction is created in such a manner that it takes attention of the demand to envelop specific infinites and does non trust on a general envelope to cover such specific infinite. Paul Heyer, described the cardinal tribunal of the edifice in a really artistic manner. “ The cardinal tribunal, as a typical Kahn-like infinite of shimmering bluish H2O, a set indicating toward the ocean typifying what human enterprise can carry through at one graduated table with geometric lucidity and important but modest deliberation, to give to the graduated table less expanse of the ocean, here the Pacific, a affecting gesture. “ [ 17 ]

Louis Kahn was known for his ability to make heroic architectural constructions that showcased human graduated table. He preponderantly used brick and bare concrete as his edifice stuffs and he used extremely refined surfaces like travertine marble for reenforcing the textures. ( http: // )

Beyond its functional function, Louis Isadore Kahn believed architecture must besides arouse the feeling and symbolism of dateless human values. Louis I. Kahn attempted to explicate the relationship between the rational and romantic duality in his “ form-design ” thesis, a theory of composing articulated in 1959. In his personal doctrine, signifier is conceived as formless and immeasurable, a religious power common to all world. It transcends single ideas, feelings, and conventions. ( http: // )

Built-in to Kahn ‘s impression of dateless signifier in the devising of important architectural infinites is the function of natural visible radiation. Louis Isadore Kahn described construction as the giver of visible radiation. For several undertakings located in hot cheery climes, such as the U.S. Consulate in Luanda, Angola ( 1959-1962 ) . the meeting houses of the Salk institute, the Indian Institute of Management ( Ahmadabad, India, 1962-1974 ) , and the National Capital at Dhaka, Louis Isadore Kahn developed visually dynamic sunblocks. Great walls with diversely shaped gaps shield interior suites from the rough visible radiation. The evocation of a wall in ruins suggests an ancient portion Louis Isadore Kahn ‘s handling of visible radiation is a cardinal subject in two unfulfilled temple undertakings, Mikveh Israel ( Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 1961-1972 ) and Hurva ( Jerusalem Israel, 1967-1974 ) every bit good as in one of his greatest works the Kimbell Art Museum ( Fort Worth, Texas. 1966-1972 ) . In the art museum, light enters through narrow slits in the concrete cycloid vaults and is diffused through the gallery insides, which are rich with travertine and oak.

Kimbell Art Museum – This Louis Kahn ‘s chef-d’oeuvre in Fort Worth is a beautiful presentation of outmost flawlessness which can be compared merely to the plants done by the Greeks. Kahn used all the tools and available resources with such perfection, that it produced a edifice which had all the constituents working in a sychronized manner and the system as a whole worked absolutely. It is hard to happen any edifice that does non use the stuffs decently and this one is no exclusion [ 18 ] .


Louis Kahn ‘s doctrine and extraordinary work has had influence on quite a figure of modern-day designers.

Tadao Ando, in his early mid-twentiess, took intiative and travelled throughout Japan, Europe, Africa and the United States for his architectural surveies. He ne’er took any formal preparation in the field of architecture. He would analyze architecture by detecting the existent edifices and reading books of celebrated designers such as Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Roher, Louis Kahn, etc. After he had gathered plenty cognition through his journey across different states, he started his ain pattern. When asked about specifying his manner of architecture, Tadao had one time said that, “ To me, walls are the most basic elements of architecture, and in all my plants, visible radiation is an of import factor ” . [ 19 ] The Benetton Communications Research Center ( Italy ) and the Naoshima modern-day art museum, ( Japan ) showed that Tadoa Ando was genuinely divine and has learned a batch from the plants of Louis Kahn.

Renzo Piano ( born in 1937 ) completed his graduation in architecture in 1964 after which he worked in his household concern. From 1965-1970, Renzo Piano worked in the offices of Louis Kahn ( Philadelphia ) and ZS. Makowski ( London ) . Along with Renzo Piano, another celebrated designer who was greatly influenced by Louis Kahn was Richard Rogers. Renzo Piano met Richard Rogers at the Expo’70 in Osaka and both instantly realized that they had common involvements. One of the most celebrated undertakings of Renzo Piano & A ; Richard Roger is that of Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. [ 20 ] The edifice was designed in such a manner, as if it were turned ‘inside-out ‘ , with the services seeable on the outsides of the edifice doing the interior of the edifice ‘light and airy ‘ . Therefore, this edifice can be said to be made on the similar BASIC construct which Kahn had applied old ages earlier in the Arts Centre where because of his theory of ‘served ‘ and ‘servant ‘ infinites, immense services canals rose up through the edifice. Hence, it can be safely concluded that Renzo Piano and Richard Roger were both influenced by Louis Kahn.

Architect Norman Foster is another celebrated personality influenced by Louis Kahn. Foster happened to analyze Masterss in architecture in America at a clip when Louis Kahn was planing the extension at the Yale University [ 21 ] . Geting influenced by Kahn ‘s designs and doctrine, the two designers have besides ended up planing the universe ‘s most exciting edifices. For illustration, Norman Foster ‘s ‘Hongkong and Shanghai Bank ‘ undertaking demonstrates Louis Kahn ‘s influence on Norman Foster.

Another designer inspired by Kahn is James Stirling. Stirling was known for his ‘experimental attack ‘ , which meant that he was non committed to one peculiar manner. [ 22 ] Besides, this attack meant that Stirling was ready to seek out new thoughts and that decidedly reflected Louis Kahn ‘s quality of planing. Stirling ‘s earlier undertakings for Oxbridge stressed more importance to the construct than to the artistic and useful demands. Due to this experimental attack and stiff attachment to concept, Stirling was frequently criticized for non following architectural rules.

  1. Brownlee, David B. and David G. De Long.Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture.New York: Rizzoli, 1991.
  2. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
  3. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
  4. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
  5. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
  6. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
  7. Wiseman, C.Louis I. Kahn: Beyond clip and Manner: a life in architecture. W.W. Norton, 2007.
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  9. Kahn Louis I, Goldhagen Sarah W. Louis Kahn ‘s located modernism. Yale University Press, 2001
  10. Tyng Alexandra. Beginnings: Louis I. Kahn ‘s Philosophy of Architecture. Wiley. 1984.
  11. Brownlee, David B. and David G. De Long.Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture.New York: Rizzoli, 1991.
  12. Tyng Alexandra. Beginnings: Louis I. Kahn ‘s Philosophy of Architecture. Wiley. 1984.
  13. Ronner Heinz, Jhaveri Sharad, Vasella Alessandro. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works, 1935-74. Westview Press, 1977. pp116.
  14. Ronner Heinz, Jhaveri Sharad, Vasella Alessandro. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works, 1935-74. Westview Press, 1977.
  15. Tyng Alexandra. Beginnings: Louis I. Kahn ‘s Philosophy of Architecture. Wiley, 1984.
  16. Giurgola Romaldo, Mehta Jaimini. Louis I. Kahn. Volume 38 of Global Architecture. Westview Press, 1975. pp195.
  17. Heyer Paul. American Architecture: Ideas and Political orientations in the Late Twentieth Century. John Wiley and Sons, 1993. pp195.
  18. Anthony C. Antoniades. Poeticss of Architecture: Theory of Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992.
  19. Tadao Ando: Interview with the Nipponese Architect. hypertext transfer protocol: // Last accessed 30th March 2010
  20. Lehman Paula. Renzo Piano ‘s Light Touch. Nov 2007. hypertext transfer protocol: // Last accessed 30th March 2010.
  21. Treiber Daniel. Norman Foster. Taylor & A ; Francis, 1995.
  22. Maxwell Robert. James Stirling: Hagiographas on architecture. Skira, 1998.
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