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Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style: A Life in Architecture Hardcover – March 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (March 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393731650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393731651
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Not merely a collection of Kahn's architectural works....it gives...a richness and layering not usually associated with architecture books. (Urban Land, Howard Kozloff)
Louis I. Kahn is lavishly illustrated...and contributes the most comprehensive analysis of the architect's life and works to date. (DocoMomo, Olivia Klose)

About the Author

Carter Wiseman teaches history and criticism at the Yale School of architecture. He lives in Weston, Connecticut. He is also the author of Twentieth-Century American Architecture.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The text is quite scholarly and informative.
Pedro Fernandes
Like so many other artists with peculiar private lives, however, he is best judged simply on his art.
R. Hardy
And Wiseman is excellent in describing the importance of Kahn's role as an educator.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book far exceeded my expectations. I am generally not a fan of Wiseman's writings, as in the past he has judged my own mentor (a figure treated more positively in this book too) very harshly. Neither here nor there, other than to say I was skeptical about this book when I picked it up.

But I have to admit it's great. Wiseman's biography of one of America's greatest architects is balanced, entertaining, and packed with astute judgments. Louis Kahn had a convoluted family life (maintaining several families at once, hidden from each other), and even his professional relationships were unusual in their combination of intimacy and distance. Wiseman brings Kahn's architectural accomplishment to life in the context of this personal complexity.

The book is well illustrated and the photographs support Wiseman's discussion - Kahn's development of a new architectural language beyond International Style modernism. And Wiseman is excellent in describing the importance of Kahn's role as an educator. This book is a great introduction to a figure of towering accomplishment, and if Wiseman does not capture all the complexity of such an enigmatic figure, he is as close as anyone has come in writing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows that books can be turned into movies. Less frequently are buildings turned into movies, but that was part of the appeal of the unique 2003 documentary _My Architect_ by Nathaniel Kahn, about his architect father Louis I. Kahn, whom the son did not know well except through his buildings. The film was an introduction for many people to Kahn's architectural work, but other architects had held Kahn in high esteem. The film showed why, and now Carter Wiseman, an architecture critic and teacher, has written an accessible and handsome biography, _Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style: A Life in Architecture_ (Norton). The documentary excited the curiosity of many who will now want to look at Kahn's life and works in more detail, and while Wiseman's book does not have the personal quest of the film, it does an exceptional job of explaining the life of an enigmatic figure whose importance in architecture is, over thirty years after his death, increasingly well appreciated. Many rank Kahn as second in importance to twentieth century architecture only to Frank Lloyd Wright himself.

Kahn came with his family from 1901 in Russian-controlled Estonia, moving to Philadelphia in 1906 when he was five. He quickly showed skill in drawing, and got into a public art school for talented youths, then to the University of Pennsylvania to study architecture. In 1930 he married Esther Israeli, a scholar pursuing her masters in psychology. They would remain supportively married for 44 years until his death, but he had many affairs and children by two other women by whom he had children (one of whom was the documentary filmmaker Nathaniel) and with whom he maintained a type of family life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Bestick VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since his death in 1974, Louis Kahn's professional reputation has grown to mythic status. Carter Wiseman's hybrid biography uses the life as a framework to analyze the architecture. He turns out to be better at explaining the buildings than the motives of the man who created them.

Raised by poor immigrant parents in Philadelphia, Kahn showed an early talent for drawing and music. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on scholarship, and later taught at Penn and Yale. A late bloomer, he didn't achieve significant professional success until he was in his fifties. Once he hit his stride, though, he designed a dazzling series of buildings that continue to generate emotional responses from the public and accolades from other architects. In this county we have (among others) the Salk Institute in San Diego, the library at Phillips Exeter Academy and art museums in New Haven and Fort Worth. Two of Kahn's most brilliant projects are located on the Indian subcontinent: a management institute in Ahmadabad and the Parliamentary Assembly in Bangladesh.

Kahn was a complicated, charismatic man with a convoluted personal life. Loyally but unhappily married, he fathered two children out of wedlock by two women who worked in his office. He acknowledged these children, visited them occasionally, but didn't support them financially or emotionally. While he was capable of warm personal and professional relationships, his emotional empathy tended to be situational, which left those who basked in his attention feeling confused or bereft when it was withdrawn. Wiseman doesn't seem that interested in Kahn's personal complexities. You'll get a more in-depth exploration of those from My Architect, the moving documentary by Kahn's son Nathaniel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P.C. on October 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I finished this in 7 days, and I'm not the type of person who enjoys reading (like Mr. Kahn) but I was just siply amazed by his journey. Kahn's life is not that of being born into a prestigious family and leaving a legacy that is famous, it's far from that. Kahn grew in a poverty stricken family and environment. One would expect that he would let this run his existance, but he chose to overcome the obstacles and eventually this launched his success. Everything may seem to go well but his life--both professionally and personal--had many mishaps.

Just buy it, it'll give you a deeper in-depth understanding of 1 of the famous yet complicated architect!
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