The late architect and historian Stanford Anderson once remarked that authenticity is the third rail of architectural debate — a place to venture at one’s peril. Notwithstanding, any architectural intervention demands that we engage and understand what is essential — authentic — in the original to its creator, those for whom it was created and all those all who experience it — to ensure fidelity to the character and integrity of the original work. Louis I. Kahn was one of a handful of truly significant architects of the last 75 years, and arguably the one who (with Le Corbusier) will have the most lasting effect upon architecture over time. As we now assess his legacy and develop interventions for renewal, it is instructive to contemplate how our understanding of Kahn’s aesthetic of authenticity — buildings as “instrument[s] that exaggerate, and so heighten one’s awareness of nature’s infinite variations” — should affect our approach to their conservation, adaptation and renewal.
Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Louis Kahn, Modern monumentality, Conservation of modern architecture.