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Happy 115th, Louis Kahn! A Curbed Reader on the Modern Architect

It's fitting that the work of an architect who valued classic geometric forms and bold interiors would achieve its own type of modern timelessness. Louis Kahn, an immigrant from present-day Estonia who became a noted practitioner, theorist and teacher, beautifully melded monumentality with meaning, creating iconic structures, such as the Salk Institute or National Assembly Building in Bangladesh, that exhibit depth, not just symbolism or show-stopping forms. Like his Yale Center for British Art, which reopens later this year—a seemingly innocuous shell that conceals intricately conceived, intimate viewing space—his work may have seem imposing at first, but at its best, it's humane, human-scale architecture built for awe. In honor of Kahn's birthday today, we've rounded up some of the best writing about the acclaimed architect from across the Curbed network.



Salk Institute from Chang Kyun Kim on Vimeo.


Gorgeous Video Shows Off Louis Kahn's Salk Institute
Considered one of his masterpieces, this clean, concrete beauty offers a crash course in what makes Kahn approach so memorable and distinct.


6 Louis Kahn Projects That Were Never Built in Philly
Louis Kahn's impact on his hometown was vast, but the architect had many other ideas on how to shape the cityscape of Philadelphia. From the abstract City Tower Project to a powerful art museum, here's what could have been.


Exploring Roosevelt Island's New Four Freedoms Park
Finished decades after his death, this long-awaited public park was called "nothing less than a new spiritual heart" for New York City by Time.


Map: 10 Homes Louis Kahn Designed in Philly
Kahn's monumentality is a constant reference found in descriptions of his work, and while his melding of classic forms and bold shapes certainly made for towering designs, he excelled at the smaller-scale as well. This map showcases the superb residential work he did in Philly.


21 First Drafts: Louis Kahn's Ahavath Israel Synagogue
After a start apprenticing on New Deal-era residential projects, Kahn started his solo career by designing a new home for Ahavath Israel, a conservative synagogue founded in 1927 to serve a mostly Eastern European congregation.


When Louis Kahn and Roosevelt Created a New Jersey Utopia
Coming full circle with his posthumously completed Four Freedoms Park in New York, this New Jersey project, a New Deal-era residential work, show the impact Roosevelt's policies had on Kahn's then-nascent career.


New Owners of Kahn's Fisher House are Simply Charmed By It
An overview of how new owners of one of Kahn's residential projects have settled in, this photo gallery offers a great tour of a "house of light" designed by the late architect.