Louis Kahn

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Yale University Art Gallery
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Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
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Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Louis Isadore Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) (February 20, 1901 or 1902 – March 17, 1974) was a world-renowned American architect of Estonian Jewish origin,[1] based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. While continuing his private practice, he served as a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. From 1957 until his death, he was a professor of architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by ancient ruins, Kahn's style tends to the monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Louis Kahn, whose original name was Itze-Leib (Leiser-Itze) Schmuilowsky (Schmalowski), was born into a poor Jewish family in Pärnu and spent the rest of his early childhood in Kuressaare on the Estonian island of Saaremaa, then part of the Russian Empire. At age 3, he saw coals in the stove and was captivated by the light of the coal. He put the coal in an apron which later seared his face. St John's Day;[2] he carried these scars for the rest of his life.[3]

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