Louis I Kahn

Louis I Kahn

Louis I Kahn

Louis I Kahn

Excerpt

"One feels the work of another in transcendence--in an aura of commonness and in the Belief" KAHN, 1961

It has seemed proper for this preliminary study to concentrate upon Kahn's buildings and projects and to treat his architectural theory as it interprets those works or can itself be interpreted through them. Kahn is therefore allowed to speak for himself at the rear of the book, where two of his major statements of principle and method, one of 1955, the other of 1960, appear in full.

In my Modern Architecture and elsewhere I have attempted to state Kahn's position in relation to the history of architecture as a whole. Such general considerations are not absent here, but they are not normally in the foreground. The attempt is to focus directly upon Kahn himself, which it is a privilege to be able to do. Interpretation, as noted above, is necessary, but the facts are more essential still, because no book has hitherto been written about Kahn and the numerous articles that exist are fragmentary and often inaccurate, through no fault of their authors, because of previous lack of data. Extensive chronological lists of biographical events and buildings have therefore been appended, as well as a substantially complete bibliography. Errors and omissions may still be found in them, but they have made use of Kahn's records and personal recollections as well as of all other available sources. They have taken shape largely through the efforts of individuals other than myself. Much material for them was gathered by Thomas R. Vreeland, Jr., of Philadelphia, a graduate of Yale, who was employed in Kahn's office for a number of years, and they have been completed and rearranged under my direction by Robert A. M. Stern, a graduate student at Yale, whose developing study of the life and times of George Howe, a close associate of Kahn's, has aided me immeasurably in this book. I am also indebted for much help to Marshall Meyers of Kahn's staff, a former editor of Perspecta, to Miss Helen Chillman of the Yale Art Library, and to Richard Wurman and various other members of Kahn's office and of his Master's Class at the University of Pennsylvania. To the students of architecture at Yale, who have since 1952 been faithfully publishing Kahn's work in their journal, Perspecta, goes my heartfelt appreciation, as will, I think, posterity's. I am most of all grateful to Kahn, as they are, for the years I have known him, for what he has taught me about the inexhaustibility of man, and for the questions his work has forced me to pose.

There are no footnotes; references made in the text are all cited in the bibliography.

New Haven, March, 1962 V.S.

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