history in Louis I. Kahn

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Vincent Scully, Jr., Louis I. Kahn (New York: George Brazilier. 1962), p. 9.

In my Modern Architecture and elsewhere I have attempted to state Kahn's position in relation to the history of architecture as a whole. Such general considerations are not absent here, but they are not normally in the foreground. The attempt is to focus directly upon Kahn himself, which it is a privilege to be able to do. Interpretation, as noted above, is necessary, but the facts are more essential still, because no book has hitherto been written about Kahn and the numerous articles that exist are fragmentary and often inaccurate, through no fault of their authors, because of previous lack of data. Extensive chronological lists of biographical events and buildings have therefore been appended, as well as a substantially complete bibliography. Errors and omissions may still be found in them, but they have made use of Kahn's records and personal recollections as well as of all other available sources. They have taken shape largely through the efforts of individuals other than myself. Much material for them was gathered by Thomas R. Vreeland, Jr., of Philadelphia, a graduate of Yale, who was employed in Kahn's office for a number of years, and they have been completed and rearranged under my direction by Robert A. M. Stern, a graduate student at Yale, whose developing study of the life and times of George Howe, a close associate of Kahn's, has aided me immeasurably in this book. I am also indebted for much help to Marshall Meyers of Kahn's staff, a former editor of Perspecta, to Miss Helen Chillman of the Yale Art Library, and to Richard Wurman and various other members of Kahn's office and of his Master's Class at the University of Pennsylvania. To the students of architecture at Yale, who have since 1952 been faithfully publishing Kahn's work in their journal, Perspecta, goes my heartfelt appreciation, as will, I think, posterity's. I am most of all grateful to Kahn, as they are, for the years I have known him, for what he has taught me about the inexhaustibility of man, and for the questions his work has forced me to pose.

...a curious footnote within Charles Jencks' The Story of Post-Modernism (2011):
Tom Wolfe lampooned architects' inability to reach the exuberance of Las Vegas sign artists, or 'Electrographic Architecture', in many articles. One key essay, republished in his collection The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York), 1965, was written in his neo-hysterical style--'Las Vegas (What?) Las Vegas (Can't hear you! Too noisy) Las Vegas!!!' Tim Vreeland has told me that when Venturi and Scott Brown were visiting Albuquerque circa 1968, he put a copy of Wolfe's book on the bedside table, and the couple were so impressed they drove off to see Las Vegas the next day. Their own shift in taste-culture towards commercial vernacular and Route 66, culminated first in an article, 'A Significance for A&P Parking Lots' (1968) and then the whole argument, Learning from Las Vegas, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA/London), 1972. Thus the Las Vegas polemic may date from Wolfe's humorous assault on professional taste, and that he too was to carry on with another attack on Minimalist Modernism, From Bauhaus to Our House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York), 1981. Reyner Banham took the Las Vegas sign artists in another direction, towards the dematerialized city of electronics, light, and environmental control. His The Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment, Architectural Press (London), 1969, inverts the Corbusian definition of architecture--'pure forms seen in sunlight'--to 'coloured light seen in impure forms'.




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