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Louis Kahn II

Richard Saul Wurman: ‘Frustration and failure are really the things that make you. Maybe he was made by being short and ugly and Jewish and having a bad voice, because it made him go internal.’

Frank Ghery: ‘I think he had trouble because he was a mystic and couldn’t talk the lingo of the business world. My first works came out of my reverence for him’.

Construction supervisors of Louis Kahn’s building, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas: ‘You’d ask Lou a question and you’d get a lecture, you never would get an answer, you’d get a dissertation on the philosophy behind the thought. He was just an artist, you know, and most artists don’t have any discipline.’

Architect Philip Johnson outside his glass house in Connecticut, talking with Kahn’s son, Nathaniel. Johnson: ‘When he did get a client—how he ever got any client is a mystery, because artists don’t get jobs—he did it by being an artist. He’d sit and work—on art. He was his own artist. He was free, compared to me.’

I.M. Pei on Louis Kahn’s building, the Salk Institute: ‘That building will stand the test of time. No question about it.’

I.M. Pei: ‘His three of four masterpieces are more important than my fifty or sixty buildings’.

All photos and quotations on this page are from Nathaniel Kahn’s excellent film, My Architect (Tartan Video, 2005).

 

 

THROUGH THESE ARCHITECT’S EYES
David Bowie

Stomping along on this big Philip Johnson
Is delay just wasting my time?
Looking across at Richard Rogers
Scheming dreams to blow both their minds
It’s difficult you see
To give up baby
To leave a job
When you know the money’s from day to day

All the majesty of a city landscape
All the soaring days of our lives
All the concrete dreams in my mind’s eye
All the joy I see through these architect’s eyes

Cold winter bleeds on the girders of Babel
This stone boy watching the crawling land
Rings of flesh and the towers of iron
The steaming caves and the rocks and the sand

Stomping along on this big Philip Johnson
Is delay just wasting my time?
It’s difficult you see
To give up baby
These summer scum-holes
This goddamned starving life

All the majesty of a city landscape
All the soaring days of our lives
All the concrete dreams in my mind’s eye
All the joy I see through these architect’s eyes

It’s difficult you see, it’s difficult you see

All the majesty of a city landscape
All the soaring days in our lives
All the concrete dreams in my mind’s eye
All the joy I see through these architect’s eyes