Louis I. Kahn – The Permanence
Docomomo Journal 58 (2018/1)

Editors: Ana Tostões

Guest editors: David N. Fixler

Keywords: Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Louis Kahn, Modern monumentality, Conservation of modern architecture.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.52200/58.I.QCXGLYRQ

Louis I. Kahn fascinate us all with his passion for Mediterranean culture. Precisely at the moment when the centre of the dominant culture moved from Europe to North America, he was able to immerse himself in the Roman brick structures of the great classical buildings, interpreting the timeless forms of antiquity. When the glass curtain of the bureaucratic International Style became trivialized, he turned to the archaic sources of architecture to discover light, matter and desire, in the pyramids of Gis. or in the ruins of the Caracalla Baths. Kahn is a unique case in the history of 20th-century architecture: he introduced the question of monumentality, a matter heretical to the Modern Movement, and emphasized the value of permanence, and the tectonic character and materiality of constructive elements. He was able to read History creatively, interpreting the permanent value of the monuments for the community and rescuing their public sense of place. Posing questions such as “what do you want, brick?” or “does the inside of a column contain a promise?”, he produced an impressive body of work and a doctrine with originality, often appearing philosophical, poetic or even mystical. Moving away from dogmas, but never losing the functional and constructive sense of modulation, he broke the systematic use of fluid space and reintroduced a sense of ritual and the value of solemnity, while achieving the most suggestive syntheses between modernity and tradition, as Otávio Paz recognized, between the use of technique and memory.
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Transcendence and permanence
Ana Tostões


Kahn's Modernism and its Renewal
David N. Fixler


What Decides “Heritage”? Lessons from a Comparison of Louis Kahn's Commercial and Institutional Projects
Lloyd L. Desbrisay

The Trenton Bath House Restoration: Challenges in Sustainability
Michael Mills, Anne Weber

Managing Expectations – Contemporary Design Culture, Conservation and the Transformation of The Richards Laboratories
David N. Fixler

Conserving the Teak Window Wall Assemblies at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Sara Lardinois, Kyle Normandin

With the Help of Nature: Kahn, the Wood House and the Culture of Stewardship
Andrew Fearon

The Yale Center for British Art: a Building Conservation
George Knight

Documentation Issues

Preservation, Restoration and Upgrade of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India
Brinda Somaya

Louis Kahn in Tel-Aviv
Jeremie Hoffmann, Hadas Nevo-Goldberst

Post-War Modern Architecture in Tunisia
Elisa Pegorin, Luca Eula

Lawn Road Flats (The Isokon) – A New Vision of Urban Living
John Allan

Isokon Furniture — Modernist Dreams in Plywood
Magnus Englund

Conservation or Change for Works of the Modern Movement
James Dunnett


David B. Brownlee interviewed by Ana Tostões
Ana Tostões

William Whitaker interviewed by Ana Tostões
Ana Tostões


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