Louis Kahn Retrospective Debuts in Philadelphia

Louis Kahn, ca. 1972. © Robert C. Lautman Photography Collection, National Building Museum.

Organized by Germany’s Vitra Design Museum, a retrospective of the late architect Louis Kahn’s career is on view through November 5, 2017, at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Previously presented in Weil am Rhein, Germany and Fort Worth, Texas, this will be only the East Coast venue for Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture. Philadelphia is also the final stop on the exhibit’s international tour, which is a fitting finale given that the Estonian-born architect emigrated to the city as a child and worked there for much of his career, while also studying and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.

Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Louis Kahn, 1959–65 © The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, photo: John Nicolais

Louis Kahn working on Fisher House design, 1961 © Louis I. Kahn Collection, University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

“We are thrilled to bring The Power of Architecture to Kahn’s hometown of Philadelphia,” said the museum’s executive director Susan Lubowsky Talbott. “This exhibition offers unprecedented insight into his artistic vision and process, very much in line with the mission of The Fabric Workshop and Museum. We, like Kahn, push the boundaries of possibility and experimentation in art and design.”

National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Louis Kahn, 1962–83 © Raymond Meier

Encompassing more than 200 objects and ephemeral items—including architectural models, original drawings, photographs, and films, The Power of Architecture provides insight into the methods and motivations behind some of Kahn’s most celebrated works, which include the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the National Assembly Museum Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Colonnade on the north side, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Louis Kahn, 1966–1972 © 2010 Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, photo: Robert LaPrelle

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, Louis Kahn, 1951–53 © Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, photo: Lionel Freedman

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