Louis Kahn

 

Who was Louis Kahn

 

Louis I. Kahn was born in Russian Estonia in 1901; he grew up in Philadelphia, where he was based throughout his career. An award-winning graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Kahn struggled to find work early in his career. In 1935 he was hired by Bauhaus-influenced architect Alfred Kastner to assist at Jersey Homesteads (now called Roosevelt), a planned community built by the New Deal Resettlement Administration. Kahn’s work at Jersey Homesteads drew some notice, and afterwards he won a few modest commissions.

In 1947 Kahn took a teaching position at Yale University, where he remained for eight years, before assuming a professorship at his alma mater. During a year at the American Academy in Rome in 1950, Kahn was inspired by the majesty of the ancient ruins he saw on travels in Italy, Greece, and Egypt. Back in the United States, Kahn received his first major commission—an extension to the Yale Art Gallery—in which he demonstrated that a modern building could express the spiritual power of classical monuments.