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Louis Kahn (1901–1974), one of the most important architects of the postwar period, is widely admired for his great monumental works, including the Kimbell Art Museum, the Salk Institute, and the National Assembly Complex in Bangladesh. However, the importance of his houses has been largely overlooked. This beautiful book is the first to look at Kahn’s nine major private houses. Beginning with his earliest encounters with Modernism in the late 1920s and continuing through his iconic work of the 1960s and 1970s, the authors trace the evolution of the architect’s thinking, which began and matured through his design of houses and their interiors, a process inspired by his interactions with clients and his admiration for vernacular building traditions.
Richly illustrated with new and period photographs and original drawings, as well as previously unpublished materials from personal interviews, archives, and Kahn’s own writings, The Houses of Louis Kahn shows how his ideas about domestic spaces challenged conventions, much like his major public commissions, and were developed into one of the most remarkable expressions of the American house.
About the Author
George H. Marcus is adjunct assistant professor of the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania. William Whitaker is curator of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, which houses the Louis I. Kahn Collection.
"The Houses of Louis Kahn . . . provides an architectural bridge between the personal and the professional stories, focusing on the nine houses Kahn completed, and designs for two dozen more. The story told by the authors, George H. Marcus and William Whitaker, is one of warm client relations, attention to the smallest domestic detail and a philosophical search for the best arrangement of rooms to call home."—New York Times
"Reveals an architect of mythic stature working on an intimate scale."—Elle Décor
"An important addition to the scholarship about Louis Kahn by addressing a portion of his oeuvre lesser known but certainly not less significant."—Docomomo
"If you thought you knew all there was to know about Kahn, read this splendid book—there is still more to learn about the greatest American architect of the second half of the 20th century."—Witold Rybczynski, Designers & Books
"Marcus and Whitaker have not only directed superb scholarship to the study of Kahn's houses—both built and unbuilt—but have shown that the houses can be a lens on a broader understanding of Kahn's philosophy, his interpretation of Modernism, and his appreciation of the vernacular. They show how Kahn evaluated clients and how he designed spaces that would allow each house to become a personalized ideal—a home."—Susan G. Soloman, Architectural Record
Winner of the 2014 Athenaeum Literary Award for Art and Architecture given by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia
"A spellbinding account of the artistic and intellectual maturation of one of the most important and influential architects of the last century. It is quite simply the most important book on Kahn to be published in over two decades."—Michael J. Lewis, Williams College, author of American Art and Architecture