New Internationalist

My Architect

August 2004
370my-architect [Related Image]

Nathaniel Kahn hardly knew his father, Louis Kahn, one of the last century’s greatest architects. My Architect records the ‘illegitimate’ Nathaniel’s pursuit of a man who never publicly acknowledged him. He interviews people who did know him, shows archive footage, and visits all his major buildings.

When Nathaniel visits Dhaka, he talks to a Bangladeshi architect, who, without any affectation, is moved to tears by Louis’s National Assembly buildings. It couldn’t happen now: a Jewish architect designing for Muslims, among other things, the nation’s principal mosque.

Louis Kahn was a visionary and idealist who showed a way beyond modernism’s steel and glass boxes. Too few of his designs were built – such as his 1960s masterplan for the redevelopment of Philadelphia, which excluded the car. To understand the Bangladeshi veneration of a man who, apart from his work, was probably unknowable, see this – a fascinating film about an architect, and a uniquely moving film about buildings.

Malcolm Lewis

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 370 This column was published in the August 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 370

New Internationalist Magazine issue 370
Issue 370

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New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

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