Abstract :

Following the lead of historians Vincent Scully and Kenneth Frampton, scholars have tended to interpret the architecture of Louis I. Kahn (1901–74) as primarily influenced by the Beaux-Arts system of design, as well as the ancient ruins that Kahn saw during his brief travels around the Mediterranean. As a result, little attention has been paid to the links between Kahn and Frank Furness (1839–1912), the two leading Philadelphia architects of their respective eras. But new research presented here demonstrates that Kahn in fact engaged deeply with Furness's work: he opposed the demolition of Furness-designed banks, proposed the preservation and renovation of Furness's buildings at the Philadelphia College of Art, and even joined the board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to spearhead the restoration of its Furness-designed building. Careful examination of Kahn's engagement with Furness demonstrates how Kahn's philosophy of design was rooted in an American way of making buildings, and it places Kahn—at last—squarely within a Philadelphia architectural tradition spanning from Furness through the twentieth century.


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pp. 266-304
Launched on MUSE
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