Architectural Archives

  • Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Louis Kahn, 1959 - 1965

    The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, photo by John Nicolais

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture

Friday, August 11, 2017Sunday, November 5, 2017
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The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia

The story of master architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is intrinsically connected to Philadelphia, where he spent most of his life and career. Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture is the first major retrospective of Kahn’s work in two decades, encompassing over 200 objects related to Kahn’s buildings and projects in the form of architectural models, plans, original drawings, photographs, and films. With complex spatial compositions and a choreographic mastery of light, Kahn created buildings of archaic beauty and powerful universal symbolism. 
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture is organized by the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, in collaboration with PennDesign's Architectural Archives and the NAI part of The New Institute in Rotterdam. Here in Philadelphia, the exhibition is on view at the Fabric Workshop and Museum the final and only East Coast venue on a world tour that began in Rotterdam in September 2012. Additional stops included Oslo, London, Taipei, Seattle, San Diego, and Fort Worth. 
The Power of Architecture extensively documents all of Kahn’s important projects—from his early urban planning concepts and single-family houses to monumental late works such as the Roosevelt Memorial in New York City (1973-74), posthumously completed in October 2012. Among his most important works are the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California (1959-65), the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (1966-72), and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh (1962-83). The presentation of Kahn’s architectural projects is accompanied by a selection of watercolors, pastels and charcoal drawings created during his travels, which document his skill as an artist and illustrator.
Highlights from The Power of Architecture include previously unpublished footage shot by Nathanial Kahn, the son of Louis Kahn and the director of the film My Architect, as well as interviews with architects such as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, and Sou Fujimoto that underscore the continued significance of Kahn’s work.
The Architectural Archives extends a special recognition to the Kroiz Family for their early and enduring support for the Louis I. Kahn Collection and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for securing the funds for preserving the Kahn papers in the Commonwealth. 
For more information about this exhibition please visit The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s website.