Louis Kahn

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Louis Kahn
BirthplaceKuressaare, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kahn, Louis


Born Feb. 20, 1901, on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia; died Mar. 17, 1974, in New York. American architect.

In 1915, Kahn became a citizen of the United States. In 1924 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He was a professor at Yale University from 1948 to 1957. He became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1957. Kahn’s works from his mature period include the Richards Laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania (1957–61), the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. (1959–66), the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmadabad, India (1963), and administrative and school buildings in Dacca, Bangladesh (under construction since 1963).

His buildings are characterized by a harsh monumentality that is accentuated by weighty forms and geometrical clarity. The three-dimensionality of the structures is emphasized by the color and rough texture of the building materials. Kahn’s style is similar to brutalism. The major and auxiliary spatial units are differentiated and exposed. Kahn ingeniously controlled the light and the movement of air (in countries with hot climates, he used additional walls and roofs).

Kahn was also a specialist in urban planning; he designed the general plan of Dacca in 1962. As a theorist, he considered architecture to be a harmonious space created by form and light.


Sovremennaia arkhitektura, 1969, NO. 2.
Arkhitektura zapada: Mastera i techeniia, book 1. [Moscow] 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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