A special exhibition, Kahn at 100: Silence and Light, marks
the centenary of the birth of Louis I. Kahn, one of the 20th century's most
influential architects and the "spiritual father of the architectural
tradition at Penn." His legacy, as described by Architectural Archives
Director Julia Moore Converse, is his architecture, his three children,
his ties to Penn as a student and teacher and his archives.
Dr. David DeLong, one of Kahn's biographers, said Kahn "connected
architecture with theory and history." Dr. De Long, professor of architecture
in historic preservation, along with Dr. David Brownlee, professor of history
of art, wrote
Penn's Architectural Archives presents the exhibition which opens February
15 at the Kroiz Gallery in the Fisher Fine Arts Building. The exhibition,
which continues through September 15, celebrates the life and work of the
internationally known architect, educator and philosopher who trained at
Penn in the Beaux-Arts under Paul Philippe Cret from 1920-24 and returned
here to teach from 1955 until his death at the age of 73 in 1974. In 1966,
Kahn was the first to hold the Cret Professorship of Architecture, created
by a bequest from his own teacher.
The exhibition features nearly 100 master drawings, models, sketchbooks,
manuscripts, photographs and memorabilia from the Louis I. Kahn Collection
at Penn, on permanent loan from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The extent of the Collection--preserved by the Commonwealth's passage of
a bill in 1975 that authorized the purchase--is vast: including nearly 6,500
sketches, more than 15,000 photographs, 100 models, 150 boxes of correspondence
and project files, Kahn's personal library, awards and memorabilia.
Penn was considered the appropriate repository since Kahn had not only
inspired a generation of architects in his classroom studio environment
but had also designed for the University one of his most significant works--the
Richards Building, on Hamilton Walk--which was immediately acclaimed "for
a bold design that brilliantly redefined modern architecture."
GSFA's legandary Dean G. Holmes Perkins hired Kahn in 1955 and in 1979
he oversaw the installation of the Kahn Collection and directed the organization
and cataloguing of the numerous materials. At 96, he is now professor of
architecture and urbanism.
Kahn was born in 1901 on the Baltic island of Osel, Estonia and came
to America in 1905. He studied at Philadelphia's Central High before coming
to Penn for his bachelor's degree.