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:

Redford was fascinated by the alliance between architect Louis Kahn and scientist Jonas Salk, who developed the first successful polio vaccine, and by their shared idea that the Institute should be like a living organism…

“Salk chose Louis Kahn as his architect, who was not an easy man to work with. He was, I think, a genius, but a lot of people who are extremely talented can be unreliable; they can be contentious, they can be combative and so forth. While they didn’t have a bad relationship, it was a relationship that had arguments in it because it was artist and scientist coming together.”…

It’s rare, Redford muses, to encounter a building that affects him in the way the Salk Institute does. “Every now and then there is a building that I think has soul and therefore it speaks to you, it speaks to you in a different way. Rather than just being objective, it suddenly makes things subjective,” he says.

“That building had it for me, it has a soul – and I hope this film illustrates why.”


Robert Redford and Wim Wenders on new architecture film Cathedrals of Culture