Louis I.

Kahn’s Notion of Light

• Biography of Louis I. Kahn • Louis I. Kahn’s notion of light • Examples
(1) Phillips Exeter Academy Library (2) Kimbell Art Museum (3) Yale Center for British Art

Biography
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1901 1905 1920-24 1937 1947-57 1951 1957 1957-74 1959 1961 1962 1967 1967 1969 1974 Born on the Baltic island of Saaremaa in Estonia Emigrated with his parents to Philadelphia Studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania Established his own office Taught architecture in the Yale University Designed the Yale University Art Gallery Designed the Richards Medical Center Taught architecture in the University of Pennsylvania Designed the Salk Institute Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad National Assembly Building, Dhaka, Bangladesh Phillips Exeter Academy Library Kimbell Art Museum Yale Center for British Art Died in New York

Notion of Light
• In several lectures, Louis I. Kahn talked about Silence and Light. He said, ”Inspiration is the feeling of beginning at the threshold where Silence and Light meet. Silence, the unmeasurable, desire to be, desire to express, the source of new need, meet light, the measurable, giver of all presence, by will, by law, the measure of things already made, at a threshold which is inspiration, the sanctuary of art, the Treasure of Shadow.”

Notion of Light
• He also said that “all material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of Light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to Light. So Light is really the source of all being.

Example - Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Central hall

Phillips Exeter Academy Library, View looking up at the central hall ceiling

Example - Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Phillips Exeter Academy Library. Carrels

Example - Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum Entry portico and garden court

Example - Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum Cafe Kimbell Art Museum View through doorways of connecting staff offices

Example - Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum Gallery

Kimbell Art Museum View looking out the north-facing window wall

Example - Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum Detail of entry portico vault and Museum wall

Kimbell Art Museum Louis Kahn in the auditorium

Example - Yale Center for British Art

Yale Center for British Art Entrance court, looking up

Example - Yale Center for British Art

Yale Center for British Art Gallery court

Yale Center for British Art Stair in library court

Example - Yale Center for British Art

Yale Center for British Art West facade of the center with court garden

Yale Center for British Art West elevation

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