Louis Kahn Exhibition Opens This Week

Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Raymond Meier)

Architect Louis Kahn — the subject of a major retrospective at Fabric Workshop and Museum — was as enigmatic as he was distinctive. Born in Estonia and based in Philly, Kahn was known for creating stark, imposing, modernist buildings that are sprinkled around the world: California, Texas, India, Bangladesh. Sadly, only few of them landed near his hometown (among them, UPenn’s Richards Medical Research Laboratories and the Wharton Escherick Studio in Malvern).

“Kahn gave us a remarkable string of masterpieces that includes the Salk Institute and the Kimbell Art Museum, and yet he was one of those shambling geniuses whose life was a mess of contradictions,” Inga Saffron wrote the New York Times earlier this year. Read more »

Yes, Virginia, There Really WAS a Philadelphia School

John Rauch residence, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1984-85. | Images: Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, unless otherwise noted

John Rauch residence, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1984-85. | Images: Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, unless otherwise noted

You may have heard the term “Philadelphia School” used to refer to a group of architects who dominated, and some say transformed, the city’s built environment in the 1960s and 1970s: Louis Kahn. Robert Venturi. Robert Geddes. John Bower. Ehrman Mitchell and Romaldo Giurgola.

Yet when most of us use the term, we don’t use it in the way one uses “Chicago School” to refer to the architects that ushered in the modern era in that city: Daniel Burnham, Henry Hobson Richardson, Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, John Root and their contemporaries.

An exhibit at the Philomathean Society at the University of Pennsylvania through April 17 argues that we should. Read more »

Panel To Tackle Past, Present and Future in Chestnut Hill

Green space and a village-like vibe together make Chestnut Hill distinctive among Philly neighborhoods. A panel discussion on April 21 will examine how it can maintain its distinctive character while accommodating growth and change. | Photo: Herb Engelberg/The Sivel Group

Green space and a village-like vibe together make Chestnut Hill distinctive among Philly neighborhoods. A panel discussion on April 21 will examine how it can maintain its distinctive character while accommodating growth and change. | Photo: Herb Engelberg/The Sivel Group

Back in the 1960s, around the time each of them designed iconic residences in the neighborhood, architects Louis Kahn, Romaldo Giurgola and Robert Venturi discussed how Chestnut Hill could strike a balance between preserving its essential nature and accommodating new development in a forum organized by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.

Now the question has renewed currency thanks to the housing boom that’s washed across the city and boosted Chestnut Hill’s popularity in its wake. So the Historical Society — now called the Chestnut Hill Conservancy — is assembling another panel of luminaries to take a stab at resolving the tension for our time and the years to come. Read more »

A Louis Kahn Icon in Chestnut Hill Wins National Preservation Award

Margaret Esherick House

The restored Wharton Esherick House shows its photogenic side to Chestnut Hill’s Pastorius Park. | Photo: © Jeffrey Totaro Photography

The Margaret Esherick House in Chestnut Hill, one of Louis Kahn’s few residential commissions, has just won a national award for the preservation effort that restored it last year.

Docomomo US, an organization devoted to documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement, has bestowed a Citation of Merit on the preservation project in its 2016 Modernism in America Awards.

The project, carried out by the house’s owners, Paul Savidge and Daniel Macey, was cited for the way in which the owners, architect k YODER design and designer Louise Cohen channeled the spirit of Kahn in restoring and updating the house. Read more »

Louis Kahn, Muhammad Ali and Delancey Street: Property’s Top 5 Homes of 2015

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Inside 1910 Rittenhouse | Photos by Jay Ratchford via Allan Domb Real Estate

From Connor Barwin’s super cool jawn to multiple sales in the vaunted 1706 Rittenhouse, 2015 was a banner for home listings (and sales) in Philadelphia. And man, oh man, was it a great year for house porn?

So good, in fact, that those aforementioned beauties didn’t even make our top 5 list of homes of the year. Don’t you worry, we’ve included the galleries of the ones that did for your viewing pleasure.

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Morning Headlines: Louis Kahn’s Clever House Is Off the Market

Photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Haddonfield

Photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Haddonfield

A piece of architectural history is about to be sold for only the second time in its existence. Yeah, the Clever House needs a little TLC, but as we said back in January, it’s Louis freakin‘ Kahn, man!

Laura Mennen of Philly.com reports that over 100 people came through to see the funky home featuring 18-foot high wood pyramidal ceilings and four glass angular gables, including architecture students and architects. First listed in January for $289,900, the home sits on .69 acres of wooded land and features a deck off of the rear of the house. Here’s the gallery for your enjoyment.



More amazing headlines…

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Louis Kahn Alert: The Clever House in Cherry Hill Is on the Market

Photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Haddonfield

Photos by TREND via BHHS Fox & Roach–Haddonfield

Here’s your chance, people. A bona fide piece of architectural history has just hit the market.

Louis Kahn may have designed around two dozen houses in his day (Oh, and this and this and this), but only nine of these modern residences were ever built. While plaudits abound for The Esherick House or The Korman House, it’s The Clever House in Cherry Hill that’s available and could make for one hell of a restoration project. Being sold in “As-Is” condition, the house located at 417 Sherry Way in Cherry Hill is 1,694 square-feet of pure experimental modern that gives a new definition to cathedral ceilings.

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Moshe Safdie Awarded 2015 AIA Gold Medal

rendering of free library addition

A rendering of the Central Branch with the Moshe Safdie addition. Credit: msafdie.com

The Board of Directors at the American Institute of Architecture has chosen Moshe Safdie, FAIA, as the recipient of the 2015 AIA Gold Medal. The selection of Safdie, whose portfolio includes Montreal’s Habitat ’67 and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands among others, is certainly a worthy choice, but not without some controversy. He won the prestigious award in a hotly contested vote with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown of Venturi, Scott Brown. The pair was the first joint nomination in the award’s 68-year history.

There’s an interesting Philly connection here. Safdie’s bold expansion plans at the Free Library were put on hold “indefinitely”  back in April. He was also mentored by the legendary Louis Kahn, an AIA Gold Medal winner in 1971. Philadelphia-based Venturi, Scott Brown are starchitects in their own right, and long fought to have the award include partners in the nominations.

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List: Most Overlooked Women in Architecture

Photo credit: Venturi, Scott Brown, and Associates via BLOUIN ARTINFO.

Photo credit: Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates via BLOUIN ARTINFO.

ArchDaily recently republished its post written last year in honor of International Women’s Day listing the 10 most overlooked women in architecture history. Among those included on Nicky Rackard’s list is Philadelphia’s own Anne Tyng (the first female to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design) and Denise Scott Brown (who was a lot more than just Robert Venturi’s wife, though peers often saw her in that light).

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Federico Babina Made Cool Illustrations By Mixing Popular Architects and Artwork

Artwork by Federico Babina via Arch Daily.

Artwork by Federico Babina via Arch Daily.

ArchDaily brought this visual treat to our attention and we love it: artist Federico Babina (whose work is frequently featured on the architecture website) recently did a series called ARTISTECT in which he takes recognizable paintings by notable artists and, in his words, “reinterpret[s]” them “using a brush soaked in architectural tints.”

The twenty-five illustrations in the project are meant, Babina says, as stand-ins for “an imagined and imaginary dialogue between creative minds,” and he makes a point to focus on the “probable and improbable connections between forms of expression and aesthetic languages sometimes distant and sometimes very close.”

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