Carter Wiseman
Louis I Kahn: Beyond Time & Style, A Life in Architecture.
W. W. Norton, 284 pages, $60

Until the age of fifty, Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974) was more known as an architect’s architect than a public figure, but in the last twenty-four years of his life he designed some of the finest buildings of twentieth-century modern architecture. His built work was admired and studied in detail while his persona became mythic. The documentary film My Architect (2003) by his son, Nathanial, from a secret second family, has generated a much broader public awareness of Kahn the man. Ironically, this interest appears at a time when Kahn’s vision of modern architecture—based on the abstraction of historical archetypes, the careful juxtaposition of masonry, wood, glass, and metal, the obsessive elaboration of details and joints, a heavy massive volumetric expression, and...

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