Page C1.1 . 17 December 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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In Search of Louis Kahn

by B.J. Novitski

Film review: My Architect by Nathaniel Kahn, 2003.

"My Architect" is a tale of a son in search of his father and in search of the private Louis I. Kahn. The two-hour documentary takes us to various built works of the famous American architect, from the Richards Medical Center in Philadelphia to the Capital Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

At Richards, one of Kahn's early projects, we hear some complaints from current occupants about problems attributable to the architect's inexperience. 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.

The filmmaker, Nathaniel Kahn, was 11 years old when his famous father died in 1974. His mother, Harriet Pattison, whom the elder Kahn never married, was a landscape architect in the Kahn office. The boy and his mother were one of three families with whom Lou Kahn shared his meager social time during the last decade of his life. To understand this social dynamic and to come to know one of the greatest architects of the mid-20th century, the younger Kahn embarked on a filmic journey of discovery.   >>>

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The Capital Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, designed by Louis I. Kahn.
2003 Louis Kahn Project, Inc.

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Architect Lou Kahn with son Nathaniel circa 1970.
Photo: Harriet Pattison; 2003 Louis Kahn Project, Inc.


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