Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook

Honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Louis Kahn in March 1974, this facsimile edition exquisitely reproduces the notebook in which the renowned American architect sketched and wrote during his travels in the last year of his life.

Anchored by a magnificent set of drawings illustrating the final design of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York City (1973/74, posthumously completed in 2012), "Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook" provides an intimate glimpse into the architect’s mind and design process. These private sketches and poetic reflections reveal Kahn’s spiritual understanding of architecture as inclusive of our total environment and shed new light on the architect’s influential philosophy for designing, building and conceiving architecture.

The facsimile pays close attention to the material qualities of the original notebook, replicating its delicate, transparent paper. Made widely available for the first time, the publication includes transcriptions of Kahn’s handwriting by Sue Ann Kahn and a commentary by architectural critic and historian Michael J. Lewis.

Continuing on from earlier investigations into the importance of drawing in the iconic architect’s work at Lars Müller Publishers, "Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook" replicates sketching in its most raw, pure form.

Honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Louis Kahn in March 1974, this facsimile edition exquisitely reproduces the notebook in which the renowned American architect sketched and wrote during his travels in the last year of his life.

Anchored by a magnificent set of drawings illustrating the final design of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park in New York City (1973/74, posthumously completed in 2012), "Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook" provides an intimate glimpse into the architect’s mind and design process. These private sketches and poetic reflections reveal Kahn’s spiritual understanding of architecture as inclusive of our total environment and shed new light on the architect’s influential philosophy for designing, building and conceiving architecture.

The facsimile pays close attention to the material qualities of the original notebook, replicating its delicate, transparent paper. Made widely available for the first time, the publication includes transcriptions of Kahn’s handwriting by Sue Ann Kahn and a commentary by architectural critic and historian Michael J. Lewis.

Continuing on from earlier investigations into the importance of drawing in the iconic architect’s work at Lars Müller Publishers, "Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook" replicates sketching in its most raw, pure form.


“It took her more than 15 years years to find a publisher; Sue Ann and the Swiss-based publishers Lars Müller completed it in time for the 50th anniversary of Kahn's death, this March. The result “Louis I. Kahn: The Last Notebook,” is a remarkable creation.”
The New York Times

“When the brilliant 500-page book “Louis Kahn: The Importance of a Drawing” by Michael Merrill was published three years ago, it was thought that everything there was to say about the great architect and passionate draughtsman was already on the table. But now, Lars Müller Publishers has gone further.”
Bau Netz

“I’m hoping it will just show another side of my father, a very human side [...] and start a new conversation about his legacy and his work.”
Sue Ann Kahn,  Monocle on Design

Edited by Sue Ann Kahn

With an essay by Michael J. Lewis

Design: Integral Lars Müller

15 × 21 cm, 6 × 8 ¼ in

192 (128+64) pages, 82 illustrations

hardback

2024, 978-3-03778-752-6, English
CHF 40.00
New

Louis I. Kahn

Born in Estonia, Louis Kahn (1901–1974) emigrated with his family to Philadelphia when he was four years old. Kahn received Beaux-Arts training at the University of Pennsylvania, under the French-educated Paul Philippe Cret, and then adopted his own idiosyncratic modernism, which would engender the heterogeneous “Philadelphia school.” It wasn’t until 1950–51 when, as an American Academy fellow, he traveled in Italy, Greece, and Egypt that he developed his own singular philosophy of architecture. In 1951 he attained his first major commission to design Yale University’s Art Gallery, and upon its completion gained instant national recognition before going on to do international commissions a decade later. He developed a signature style that was monumental, monolithic and transparent in its functionality. Kahn was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 1971 and the RIBA Gold Medal in 1972.

Sue Ann Kahn

Sue Ann Kahn, daughter of Louis I. Kahn, has advocated for the preservation and restoration of her father’s architecture for over three decades. She has also been an active consultant and significant lender to the major exhibitions on his work. In 1996, she co-curated “Louis I. Kahn Drawings: Travel Sketches and Synagogue Project” for The Jewish Museum in New York; and in 2017, she collaborated on an exhibition of Kahn’s pastel works at his Kimbell Art Museum. She is the author of a number of recent articles about her father’s drawings: “The Color of Light, the Treasury of Shadows” in "Louis Kahn: The Importance of a Drawing", edited by Michael Merrill (2021); and “My Father the Artist” in "Reader’s Guide to The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn" (2022). Sue Ann Kahn is a noted flute soloist, teacher, and chamber musician.

Michael J. Lewis

Michael J. Lewis is an American art historian and architectural critic. He is the Fais- on-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art History at Williams College and the architectural critic for The Wall Street Journal. His most recent books include: “Philadelphia Builds: Essays on Architecture” (Paul Dry Books, 2021), “City of Refuge. Separatists and Utopian Town Planning” (Princeton University Press, Princeton 2016), and “American Art and Architecture” (Thames & Hudson, 2006).