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The Life, Influence, And Works Of Architect Louis I Kahn.

1535 words - 6 pages

For one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, Louis Kahn created very few buildings. However the few he did complete are so remarkably expressive and innovative that his work is considered to be an inspired great progression from the International Style and he is hailed as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century.Louis I. Kahn was born in Estonia, Russia in 1901 to a mother who stayed at home and an artisan father who, despite being Jewish, worked in stained glass for churches. When he was 2 years old, he was near his fathers work area when he grabbed a burning coal because the light it emitted fascinated him. This burned his hands and face, making scars he would carry for the rest of his life. In 1904, he and his family immigrated to the United States.In his new home in Pennsylvania, Kahn was often made fun of by other children for his scars. He was often rejected by these children, and turned to art as an escape. His teachers noticed his natural ability for drafting, and got him painting lessons. After winning many all-city art competitions, Kahn discovered his passion for architecture. After graduating high school, Kahn turned down a full arts scholarship from a prestigious university in order to attend the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania. It is here where he developed his passion for unique use of light in buildings. While at U. Penn, Kahn won a bronze medal in the Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize.After graduating from U. Penn, Kahn entered the office of John Molitor as senior draftsman on the design of the 1926 Sesquicentennial buildings. After the completion of the buildings, Kahn left the office. In 1928, he traveled to Europe to study the architecture and improve his skills as a renderer. When he returned in 1929, he joined Folger's Shakespeare Library Project and other small projects. Satisfied with his position, he married Esther Kahn in 1930. A few months before the marriage, the stock market had crashed inspiring Kahn to design many public housing units in New York City and Philadelphia.From 1935 to 1947 he worked with a multitude of partners to little avail. He then worked as Design Critic and Professor of Architecture at Yale University until 1957, after which he was Dean at the University of Pennsylvania. However, as soon as he began to work alone on buildings in 1950, Kahn began to go beyond the normal architectural style of the time and explore the line between the common style, international styles, and his own separate inspirations.His first building completed was the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. The commission he received for this building brought about Kahn's discovery of structure, materials, and, perhaps most importantly, the power of the forms he was capable of creating with his pen. He implemented new technologies never seen before such as a waffle grid transparent ceiling on the first floor which doubled as the floor of the second story. Kahn also made...

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