Past exhibition now Closed

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture

The American architect Louis Kahn is one of the great master builders of the 20th Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism. Discover how Kahn created a modern form of expression for the eternal and essential qualities of architecture.

What can you do at the exhibition?

  • 156
    minutes of film
  • 500
  • 6
    main themes
  • 5632
    kilometres travelled by exhibits

What was in the exhibition?

Louis Kahn (1901–1974) was a visionary architect, an expert manipulator of form and light, a creator of uniquely dramatic buildings, and a highly complex individual.

This new exhibition at the Design Museum explores Kahn’s work and legacy through architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films; bringing to life his singular career and diverse output.

About Louis Kahn

Described in his New York Times obituary as having been one of America’s foremost living architects, Kahn nonetheless realised few buildings in his lifetime and died practically bankrupt. Despite this, he was hugely influential — a fact affirmed by interviews with Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor and Sou Fujimoto, which feature in the exhibition. Now, Kahn’s reputation is being redefined, as his search for an architecture that grows out of a sense of place seems more important than ever.

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture examines Kahn through six broad themes:

  • City looks at his relationship with his adopted home of Philadelphia

  • Science demonstrates his use of engineering and geometric structures

  • Landscape shows the importance of nature within his work

  • House takes in Kahn’s residential commissions

  • Eternal Present places him in the context of architectural history

  • Community examines his devotion to public buildings.

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The Design Museum's exhibitions programme captures the excitement and ingenuity of contemporary design, architecture, fashion, graphics and technology.

Architecture is the thoughtful making of space — Louis Kahn

Homepage and background image Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Louis Kahn 1959–65 © The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania, photo John Nicolais | Exhibition photography Luke Hayes