Drawn from the Source
The Travel Sketches of Louis I. Kahn
With an essay and site photographs by Ralph Lieberman Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) was among the most highly regarded twentieth-century architects, yet the relationship of his haunting travel sketches to his work has not been systematically explored until now. Drawn from the Source shows how Kahn's encounters with the great buildings of the past influenced his own architecture, and how monuments such as the Salk Institute and the Kimbell Art Museum employ natural materials and natural light to create a sense of permanence and communal space inspired by buildings far removed in time and place. Drawn from the Source describes Kahn's journeys to Europe and Asia in 1928-1929, 1951, and 1959, culminating in the great pastel sketches that circulated privately among architects and played a large part in the revival of architectural sketching in recent years. Each sketching episode is considered in terms of its contribution to Kahn's later architectural formulations, showing how he worked from his sketches to make that great synthesis of modernism and historical form that distinguishes his work. Kahn's itineraries are vividly reconstructed through surviving watercolor, pastel, and pencil drawings that reveal rapid shifts in style, sometimes week by week, while he developed a way of drawing that reflected his understanding of architectural form. Specially commissioned photographs taken by Ralph Lieberman from the precise viewpoints of the drawings document the variance of the sites from Kahn's selective interpretation of them.