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In Memoriam Louis I Kahn, State of Union and Roosevelt

October 22, 2012

Louis I. Kahn (Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky), born at the turn of the century as a poor Jew,  died in New York City’s Penn Station in 1974, and went unidentified for three days. Heart attack.

He built some of the most influential buildings. Not just those that look great in photos, but those that stand like rocks and remind you of some grand palace even sans any adornment. And if you’ve had a chance to look at even one of his sketches up close, you know what I’m talking about.

Four Freedoms Park, His only design in New York has come to fruition now.


And More details:

(Diversion: Even when you think I am selectively quoting, Anna Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt’s granddaughter said: “My grandfather really didn’t want memorials, he wanted change, he wanted the people to hold this in their hearts.”

Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) went for a swim not heeding medical advice. His body was found by bathers. Heart attack. For all these people, their lives were greater than their ends.)

Kahn had three families from three women he loved.

I wanted young architects to know this: He was deeply in debt when he died.

And no, I haven’t seen ‘My Architect.’


Sketch - Painterly

One of Louis Kahn’s Sketches

Sketch - Painterly

I have used this sketch from: ( I am happy to direct interested readers to the ‘Bird’s Eye View’ as well as to the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles.

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