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Louis Kahn

A Life in Architecture
Carter Wiseman

BUY Paper · 144 pp. · 6 × 8 · ISBN 9780813944975 · $26.95 · Nov 2020
BUY Ebook · 144 pp. · ISBN 9780813947501 · $26.95 · Nov 2020

The man who envisioned and realized such landmark buildings as the Salk Institute, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the National Assembly complex in Bangladesh, Louis Kahn was born in what is now Estonia, immigrated to America, and became one of the towering figures in his adopted country’s built world. His works are unmistakable in their elegance, monolithic power, and architectural honesty.

Written by Carter Wiseman, one of Kahn’s most respected commentators, this book offers a succinct, accessible examination of the life and work of one of America’s greatest architects. It traces the influence of his immigrant origins, his upbringing in poverty, his education, the impact of the Great Depression, and the arrival of Modernism on his life and work. Finally, it provides insight into why, as the legacy of many of his contemporaries has receded in importance, Kahn’s has remained so durably influential. Louis Kahn: A Life in Architecture provides the best concise introduction available to this singular life and achievement.


This is a wonderful introduction to the mighty yet humane architecture of Louis Kahn. The memorable buildings are brought to life with an eloquent appreciation of both their physical forms and the important ideas that they embody.

David Brownlee, University of Pennsylvania, coauthor of Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture

In this highly accessible and honest introduction to one of the great architects of the 20th Century, Carter Wiseman presents Louis Kahn's works (and the baffling complexity of his private life) with critical clarity, empathy and humor. It presents the rich context of Kahn's career based on new research, interviews with contemporaries and a deep understanding of the conditions of architectural production.

Dietrich Neumann, Brown University, editor of The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture

Wiseman’s succinct new biography tells you almost all you need to know about Kahn’s professional life.

Wall Street Journal

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