Some Restoration In Store For Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

salk institute

The Salk Institute, designed by Louis Kahn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, a famous architectural gem by Louis Kahn, is under threat.  The wood-and-concrete property, which sits near the beaches of the Pacific in La Jolla, California, has not been situated in the greatest of environments and its starting to show on the building. As Brigitte Brown of Architizer writes:

“It’s perfectly tranquil in all of its concrete and wood glory — but, because of the structure’s proximity to the salty and sandy marine environment, it is at a preservation disadvantage. Visitors today can clearly note how the teak wood “window walls” are taking a beating.”

Fortunately, the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative is here to save it. And other buildings in the process too.

CMAI, a partnership between the Salk Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute, is trying to develop a plan that will help conserve Khan’s architectural masterpiece. However, as whole, CMAI is looking to “help with the distinct challenges of conserving modern architecture” because despite “all the innovative techniques and use of materials,” many, like Kahn’s Salk work, are “rapidly deteriorating.”

This Is How You Save a Louis Kahn Masterpiece [Architizer]

Louis Kahn’s Roche House Is on the Market

louis kahn roche house

TREND photo via BHHS Fox & Roach – Blue Bell

Well, this is exciting! The Philip and Jocelyn Roche House in Whitemarsh Township is on the market. Though it’s definitely considered a Kahn home — one of several residential commissions in our area — it may be that Oscar Stonorov had some involvement here. In The Houses of Louis Kahn, co-authors George H. Marcus and William Whitaker say note that the construction drawings from 1948 are marked Stonorov & Kahn, though the job’s start date has been listed as 1945. The home’s origin story is muddied because the home was on a parcel of land that was being considered as the location of the United Nations Headquarters.

We’ll take a minute for you to laugh at that notion.

Now. Onward. As you’d expect from a Kahn home, engagement with nature is in evidence, from specimen plants and private walking trail to hidden grotto and Japanese garden. The listing notes Kahn’s hallmark touches here, like the living room’s brick wall, and the way the living room light changes colors as the sky does.

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Best (Only?) Architecture-Related April Fools Joke

Philadelphia native Louis Kahn at the Salk Institute. Image via ArchDaily.

Philadelphia native Louis Kahn “outside of” the Salk Institute. Image via ArchDaily.

Are famous architects too serious for selfies? Robert Venturi, Philadelphia’s most famous postmodernist, may well have taken a few. But what about modern masters like Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn and I.M. Pei? What if they did, too? ArchDaily posted seven Photoshopped images it claimed were dug up from history:

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Louis Kahn’s Earliest Residential Commission Goes Up for Sale

photo of oser house

Well, this is exciting. Right on the heels of Richard Neutra’s Pitcairn House hitting the market comes this listing for a home designed by Neutra contemporary Louis Kahn.

The Elkins Park residence — built from Wissahickon schist and red cedar — was designed in 1940 for Jesse and Ruth Oser and is the architect’s earliest residence. This was a personal project: Kahn and Jesse Oser went to Central High together and remained friends. The house sits on the former estate of hat baron J.B. Stetson, so it already had some features that Kahn had to work around; “he had little choice,” reads The Houses of Louis Kahn, “but to situate the house above, on a north-facing slope.”

This restriction became an opportunity, with elevated living areas and southwest exposure, and is one reason the home is so appealing today.

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Robert Redford Directs Film Segment About Louis Kahn [TRAILER]

salk institute

The Salk Institute, designed by Louis Kahn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Cathedrals of Culture, a new film project from Wim Wenders that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival last week, asks buildings to speak, to share their souls, as Wenders puts it. Culture profiles six talking buildings, including the Salk Institute in San Diego, built by Philadelphia’s Louis Kahn. That segment is directed by Robert Redford, who had a mild case of polio when he was young and was therefore sensitive to Salk’s achievements. From the UK’s Independent:
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Morning Headlines: PREIT Buys Building at 15th and Walnut

The Walnut Street building purchased by PREIT once boasted Louis Kahn as a tenant.

The building on the northwest corner of 15th and Walnut once had an illustrious tenant: Louis I. Kahn, the celebrated modernist architect, had his office there. Today its tenants consist of three retail shops and a Pennsylvania lottery.

Buyer Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), which owns the Gallery, as well as many other malls, has not offered specifics about what will happen with the 14,000-square-foot property.

PREIT buys 15th & Walnut corner [PhillyDeals]

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BREAKING: Sale Pending on Louis Kahn’s Esherick House

esherick-house

Finally! The Louis Kahn home in Chestnut Hill that has been on the market for such a long time — and that inspired my personal confession of a rather disturbing nature — is pending sale, which means unless something catastrophic happens, it will have new owners soon.

    

Those owners, though, are keeping a low profile for the moment, preferring to remain anonymous. But they do say, via email, “We are committed to being good stewards of this beautiful reflection of the genius of Louis Kahn.”

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Louis Kahn’s Esherick House Gets a Price Cut. Plus: A Confession

esherick-house

The most significant Mid Century Modern home on the Philadelphia market has just been reduced in asking price by $125,000. It is an iconic example of Kahn’s passion to bring the outside in and the inside out. It is also iconic of his residential work from this period (1959) in general, though as George Marcus and William Whitaker point out in their soon-to-be-published book The Houses of Louis Kahn, each home Kahn built was approached individually, conceived with the people who would ultimately reside there.

In this case, the house was built for one person, which is partly why it has had a hard time selling. But the Esherick House has what every real estate agent would kill for: an interior that finally merits that listings cliche “sun-drenched.”

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Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece by Jules Gregory and George Nakashima Drops Below $1M

Jules Gregory was a prominent mid-century modern architect, and like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, and George Nakashima, he has a significant legacy in the New York/NJ/Pennsylvania area. This home on Goat Hill Road in the riverside town of Lambertville, NJ (across the bridge from New Hope) was designed by Gregory for himself. As Henry Kuryla wrote last month in Aspire Metro:

Architects throughout the course of their careers design many masterworks for others, but often their pièce de résistance is the home they create for themselves. Such is the case for the previous home of the noted Mid-Century Modern architect Jules Gregory in Lambertville, NJ.

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