The Louis Kahn Project - A work in progress
Illustration, Louis Kahn portrait
Louis Isadore Kahn, Architect, 1901 - 1974
Preliminary Design in the form of an illustration for a cast bronze portrait of Louis Kahn by Brian Owens, unique, height=68"
The Louis Kahn Project - A work in progress
About Louis Kahn, by Brian Owens

I consider myself to be a knowledgeable man, but I must confess that I learned about the late Louis I. Kahn only a year or so ago. Louis Kahn decided to start an architectural firm at the age of 50. Twenty three years later Louis Kahn was widely regarded as the world's most influential architect in the later half of the twentieth century. Of course, there was a price to pay for his passion. The collateral damage would include his relationship with his son, among other things. You don't have to know about architecture to benefit from a knowledge of Louis Kahn. I invite you to surf the links below and explore the life and work of this luminous, secretive man. I have no special insight into the mind of Louis Kahn, except that I have met his kind before.

The story of Louis Kahn appeals to me because I believe that he had the heart and soul of a true artist. He was as much a sculptor as architect. But his story is much larger than art, architecture and ambition. It's about our capacity to figure out why we are here; Our capacity to exceed the sum of our parts. You'd have to be made of stone to not want answers to the questions that Louis Kahn's life gives rise to. Architect B. V. Doshi described Louis Kahn as a "highly cultivated soul". He added, "nothingness mattered to him ... the enigma of life mattered to him". Louis Kahn spoke of "matter in spiritual terms", which is precisely what many of my artist friends start doing when they get together.

William Soroyan said "the role of art is to make a world that can be inhabited". I believe the same could be said of Louis Kahn.

Project Description

It's a simple plan: Complete a bronze portrait of Louis Kahn in two stages. Stage One is to complete a model of the portrait in clay, complete the base and make preparations to cast the portrait in bronze. Stage Two is to cast the work in bronze and install it in a relevant location, probably on a temporary basis. Stage One will be completed in 2006.

I have not been commissioned to do this. I am undertaking this project at my own expense.

More information about Louis Kahn

My Architect
A documentary on Louis Kahn through the eyes of his son Nathaniel Kahn.

A review of "My Architect"
Reviewed by LindaZ, WBAI Womens Collective, 99.5 FM in New York City

Unbuilt Ruins
Excerpts from "Unbuilt Ruins", a book and exhibition featuring the unbuilt designs of Louis Kahn, by Kent Larson.

Capitol Bldg photo, P8-02425
Capitol Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh
(also known as Parliament House) built 1962-1983
Architect: Louis Kahn

"At Dhaka, we hear the deepest reverence for the man who, at the end of his career, sacrificed his personal and economic well being to build an extraordinary embodiment of nationhood in light and form for the people of Bangladesh."

B.J. Novitski, "In Search of Louis Kahn",
brian r. owens home sculpture back next telephone
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"I asked the brick, 'What do you like, brick?' And the brick said, I like an arch."

Louis Kahn
"The man is always greater than his works because he can never fully express his aspirations."

Louis Kahn
"The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need. The world never needed Beethoven's Fifth Symphony until he created it. Now we could not live without it."

Louis Kahn
"Every time a student walks past a really urgent, expressive piece of architecture that belongs to his college, it can help reassure him that he does have that mind, does have that soul."

Louis Kahn
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