Louis Kahn’s first trip to Asia was in April 1949 (to Israel and Palestine). In 1974, Khan would take his final trip. In between, Kahn traveled over 50 times to the continent, producing projects for 10 locations, four of which were realized. Both the campus of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, and the Sher-e-bangla Nagar in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, are among his most significant works, standing as enduring landmarks of 20th-century architecture.
In this final Saturday University lecture of the 2022–2023 series, curator William Whitaker will discuss the conceptualization and development of Kahn’s works in Asia through his letters, drawings, and images of the structures themselves. Fifty years on, these sites cannot be separated from the present cultural and political dialogue about national identity or from the pressures of rapid economic development and urbanization.
The talk will be followed by a discussion and Q&A moderated by Ken Oshima, Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington.
William Whitaker is the curator and collections manager of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design. Trained as an architect and architectural historian at the University of New Mexico and the University of Pennsylvania, Whitaker primarily works on documenting and interpreting Penn’s design collections, including holdings related to the of life and work of architect Louis I. Kahn and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, as well as that of the husband and wife design team of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.
Whitaker has organized and co-curated over 30 exhibitions, and served as the director of research for the landmark retrospective, Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown & Associates at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2001, and as curatorial consultant for Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, a major exhibition of the architect's work organized by the Vitra Design Museum in 2012.
Admission to the galleries is provided with the purchase of a Saturday University ticket. General admission tickets are $15, $8 for members, and $10 for students tickets with ID.
Photo: Louis I. Kahn Collection, University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.