Regarded as one of the most pivotal designers, urban planners, and teachers of the twentieth century, Louis Khan remains a publicly obscure figure. Unlike other twentieth century “starchitects”, like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rhoe, who successfully crossed over into public consciousness, Khan remains somewhat confined to academia. A major retrospective titled “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture”, now going into its final weeks, at the Bellevue Arts Museum shines light onto Khan’s influential career.
Known for his unique approach to design, Khan’s mature architectural compositions are renowned for their masterful use of light and their refined solidity. Among his most important works are the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California (1959 – 65), the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (1966 – 72), and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh (1962 – 83). Each of Khan’s commissions exhibit his devotion to humanistic experience, presenting occupants with comprehensible geometry, tactile materiality, and unimposing scale.
“Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” provides an unprecedented range of architectural models, original drawings, photographs and films, which give museum audiences an understanding of who Kahn was, what he did, and how he did it. Interviews with architects such as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, and Sou Fujimoto underscore the current significance of Kahn’s work, which is being rediscovered and made accessible to a wide public audience with this exhibition.
“Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” runs through May 1st, 2016.