Louis I Kahn

An in-depth and scholarly monograph on the mid-20th century architect.

Robert McCarter


Price: USD$69.95

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Born in Estonia in 1901, Louis Isidore Kahn was to become one of the United States' most important architects of the post-war period, alongside the modern masters Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. Although renowned for a number of seminal modern works, he came to question many of the precepts of the modern movement. He questioned with particular rigour the ability of the 'international style of modernism' to house the social spaces required by the latter half of the century.

In 1947 Kahn was appointed Professor at Yale University. He continued to teach throughout his architectural career, influencing a sequence of younger generations of architects along the way. His teaching enabled him to develop further his own concepts and to inform his ever-evolving definition of design. He was drawn to investigate the concept of monumentality in architecture - creating buildings out of heavy, solid materials and forms and incorporating vivid plays of light, in complete contrast to the lightweight glass and steel structures being created elsewhere by his peers.

This monumentality was also imbued with his concern for the ritual of human experience. His career, though extending to just over twenty years, was richly diverse, and one through which he continually reshaped the relations between light, mass, structure, geometry and materials.

This monograph follows a predominantly chronological order, identifying major themes and examining key works in accordance to the backbone of these themes. A comprehensive list of projects by Kahn spanning his lifetime and drawn from the 'Louis I Kahn Collection' at the University of Pennsylvania Archives is also included, listing over 231 projects, of which at least thirty were previously unattributed.


Format: Paperback
Size: 245 x 210 mm (9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in)
Pages: 512 pp
Illustrations: 308 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714849713

Robert McCarter is a practicing architect and has been Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis since 2007. He taught previously at the University of Florida, where he was Director of the School of Architecture from 1991–2001, and Columbia University, among other schools. He has written for numerous international publications, and his books include: Carlo Scarpa (2013); Understanding Architecture, co-authored with Juhani Pallasmaa (2012); Louis I Kahn (2005); On and By Frank Lloyd Wright: A Primer of Architectural Principles (2005); Frank Lloyd Wright (1997); Unity Temple (1997); and Fallingwater (1994), all by Phaidon Press. He has also published Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References (2012); Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Lives (2006); and William Morgan: Selected and Current Work (2002), among other books.

"Descriptions of each building and case study are extraordinarily successful... [This book] achieves what Kahn often outlined as the ultimate challenge for an architect: capturing the mind's vision."—Blueprint

"Deserves a place as a solid student textbook."—Architect’s Journal


"Should be an inspiration for students and teachers in any design and technology, engineering or art department... This beautifully produced 500 page book could be used not only for the insight it gives into Kahn’s design, but also for its extensive series of concept drawings, detailed plans, photographs of architectural models, and sketches and photographs of completed projects."—Bill Richmond, Times Educational Supplement

"The time is ripe for comprehensive critical assessment of [Kahn's] work... McCarter's [...] book is comprehensive in scope, thoroughly researched, well written, extensively illustrated... and beautifully produced by Phaidon... At the end of the book, McCarter concisely grasps and articulates something of the essential truth about Kahn."—The Architectural Review

"This homage to Kahn is helped by the drama of his prodigious output of theoretical schemes and foiled master plans... When he suceeded, the results were spectacular... This book does him proud."—Wallpaper*

"A labour of love... A conscientious review... Kahn, is, after Le Corbusier, the major architectural thinker of the twentieth century, revered as much by Norman Foster as by Robert Venturi."—Robert Maxwell, Professor Emeritus of Architecture, Princeton University, Times Literary Supplement

"Descriptions of each building and case study are extraordinarily successful... [This book] achieves what Kahn often outlined as the ultimate challenge for an architect: capturing the mind's vision."—Blueprint

"Deserves a place as a solid student textbook."—Architect’s Journal

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