American architect Louis I. Kahn left behind a legacy of great buildings: the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California; the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; and the Indian Institute for Management in Ahmedabad. Yet he also left behind an equally important legacy of designs that were never realized. This exceptional volume unites those unbuilt projects with the most advanced computer-graphics technology—the first fundamentally new tool for studying space since the development of perspective in the Renaissance—to create a beautiful and poignant vision of what might have been.
Author Kent Larson has delved deep into Kahn's extensive archives
to construct faithful computer models of a series of proposals the
architect was not able to build: the U.S. Consulate in Luanda,
Angola; the Meeting House of the Salk Institute in La Jolla; the
Mikveh Israel Synagogue in Philadelphia; the Memorial to Six
Million Jewish Martyrs in New York City; three proposals for the
Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem; and the Palazzo dei Congressi in
Venice. The resulting computer-generated images present striking
views of real buildings in real sites. Each detail is exquisitely
rendered, from complex concrete textures to subtle interreflections
and patterns of sunlight and shadow.
Kahn's famous statement—"I thought of wrapping ruins around
buildings"—is borne out by the views of his unbuilt works; his
rigorous exploration of tactility and sensation, light and form, is
equally evident. Complementing the new computer images is extensive
archival material—rough preliminary drawings, finely delineated
plans, and beautiful travel sketches. Larson also presents
fascinating documentation of each project, often including
correspondence with the clients that shows not only the deep
respect accorded the architect but the complicated circumstances
that sometimes made it impossible to bring a design to fruition.
Not only a historical study of Kahn's unbuilt works, this volume is
in itself an intriguing alternative history of architecture.