The best architects of middle years of the twentieth century have managed to escape from dull and old conventions while retaining the meaningful and beautiful aspects of tradition. Louis Kahn who was born in 1901 in Estonia, Russia was one of the most successful architects at finding this balance of the International Style of modernism1. Louis Kahn started his career as a draughtsman and worked as head designer in several firms in Philadelphia after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1924.1 1. Louis Kahn, 1972, Kahn’s poetic moments, http://www.bdonline.co.uk/Pictures/web/x/j/f/kahn_we_636.jpg, (accessed 3 May 2015).
There are some significant elements of design philosophy of Louis Kahn. Kahn’s works had an international style of architecture during earlier time. Yet, later, he reattempted on traditional approach and try to innovate by re-expressing the use of light, form structure and space. He was believed to be also influenced by building design in Philadelphia where he grew up at. There were many factories with large windows and the brick structures were very solid. The industrial design can be seen from some of Kahn's early works.
Also, Louis Kahn was extremely impressed by the outstanding architectural design of Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans and this influence his approach of designing the buildings. Reason being he was once a Resident Architect at the American Academy in Rome. This European experience can be seen in his works in last two decades of his life. By applying the Platonic geometry principle, he demonstrated a desire to produce a sense of place at the same time presented the genuine side of structure.
Apart from that, many of his buildings taking shape of squares, triangles or circles reason being inspired by Egyptian works to use several of geometric shapes. Kahn's buildings are appreciated for implementing platonic geometry principles and outstanding use of geometric shapes which creates magnificent experience for the occupants.
1. “The Great Architects: Louis Kahn”, The Philosophers Mail, last modified, no specify, http://thephilosophersmail.com/perspective/the-great-architects-louis-kahn/
The elements of design philosophy that applied on his works that carry on into the contemporary could be summarized in four principle ideas. There are a number of buildings that have been erected in recent decades which draw on the same formal qualities of Kahn’s best work.
Architecture is the thoughtful making of spaces. It is the creating of spaces that evoke a feeling of appropriate use. —Louis I. Kahn Louis I.2
Kahn has determined his philosophy that architecture is the thoughtful making of spaces whose design could and should simultaneously express the story of their construction and achieve the aesthetic and functional needs of the people who inhabit them.2 Kahn suggested that spaces should use as structural elements to not only to carry loads and give character to the building but also to make them functional. Kahn differentiates between desire and essential. Hence, he determines a hierarchy of spaces and invented what he called “servant and served” spaces. The servant spaces included stairwells, elevators, exhaust and intake vents and pipes while the served spaces belong to occupant who experience the space.
Richards Medical Towers is one of the building that Kahn demonstrates the application of servant and served spaces through this structure by overcoming the problem of in sufficient lighting and more importantly integrates form and material. 2. Diagrammatic illustrations of ‘The Served and the Servant Spaces’ in Richards Medical Research Laboratories Building, 1960, Archinect, http://files.archinect.com/uploads/ai/aiu_sketch_stevensong2.jpg
Furthermore, Kahn's works shows wide-scale implementation of sunlight through different kinds of interesting windows and openings. Light was a dominant element in Kahn’s philosophy because he appreciated the importance of sunlight and