Forschungsprojekt L. Kahn Englisch

Louis Kahn: Drawing, Thinking, Architecture

Louis Kahn: Drawing, Thinking, Architecture

Architectural Representation, Work Processes and Designerly Knowledge

Louis Kahn (1901-74) is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant architects of the last century and awareness of his long-term relevance continues to grow. The architectural community has been profoundly influenced through Kahn´s buildings, theory and teaching. Yet there is a significant part of his work that has remained largely unexplored and that holds great potential for future discourse and pedagogy: his exemplary conceptual and working processes as embodied in the thousands of drawings housed in the Kahn archive. This three year project, joining an international team of experts to produce a symposium, book and an exhibit, will be the first comprehensive, systematic and critical study of Kahn´s design process through his drawings and those of his office. Unlike previous studies, which have focused on the built work and considered the drawings only insofar as they illuminate those buildings, this study is to analyse Kahn´s drawing culture as an independent source of insight into his designerly intelligence and work. The study is significant for several reasons: it will not only close a large gap in the scholarship on this important architect and make a contribution to the discourse on representation in architecture; it also represents original and primary research toward the development of the systematic bases of architectural design as an academic discipline; systematic in the sense of scientific and thus independently arguable. The research is to demonstrate how architects can develop a métier-immanent body of knowledge around the tools of the discipline´s cognitive force and agency.

Project leader: Dr.-Ing. Michael Merrill

Research, symposium and publication supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Project dates: 2014-2017.