Kahn, Louis

Alfred Newton Richards Medical Research Laboratories and David Goddard Laboratories Buildings

Added by jon buono, last update: October 14, 2011, 8:54 pm

Alfred Newton Richards Medical Research Laboratories and David Goddard Laboratories Buildings
Location
3700-3710 Hamilton Walk University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 10025
United States
39° 56' 59.3628" N, 75° 11' 54.5352" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Commission brief: In the postwar, the desire to expand the University of Pennsylvania’s medical facilities and improve the image of the University as an innovative and modern research institution prompted a large-scale building initiative. Major funding for these new projects was undertaken through the leadership of Dr. Norman H. Topping, Vice President for Medical Affairs, and he would continue to play a large role in the development of the new Medical “wing.” The commission for a new building to house five different departments including “physiology, microbiology, research surger, public health, and the Johnson Foundation” (Brownlee 324), was officially approved in 1956, and G. Holmes Perkins, then Dean of the School of Fine Arts, and Sydney Martin, a University Trustee proposed two architects to design the new building. One was Louis Kahn, the other Eero Saarinen. Saarinen was ultimately given the commission of a women’s dormitory (Hill House) instead, and in February 1957, Kahn was officially presented the commission by the University President Gaylord Harnwell.

Design brief: A planning committee composed of various faculty members whose departments were to share the new space was to give input on the design. The committee’s own initial design plans were traditional for laboratory spaces – the standard double loaded corridor with modular bays that allowed for flexible configuration of spaces. Kahn rejected this, believing that researchers needed both physical and “psychological” contact with each other (Museum of Art Bulletin, 1961, v.28, n.1, p. 4) and instead planned for a more open, studio-like layout, and having the spaces stacked in a tower instead of being linear. Another primary concern was having proper exhaust, due to the noxious nature of research being performed. Thus the creation of “servant” and “served” spaces, with three “servant” towers with smaller exhaust stacks clustering around a “service” tower with four large air-intake ventilation stacks.

Construction history: Finished much over budget, and with tension building among faculty members over the configuration of the space which became a major source of tension between client and architect, Kahn was forced to make many compromises in design, especially in the second phase of the project. These concessions would severely affect the performance and comfort of the buildings, including elimination of shading devices and reduction of insulation, and the usage of cheaper building materials in Goddard. By the time of its completion in 1965, not only had the building size been reduced, but the exterior plaza space had been also scaled back in size.

Dates: Commission / Completion:1957: Kahn began design work on Goddard later that year, however during the design stage, Kahn was initially recommended only as a consultant for the project due to the University’s dissatisfaction with the proceedings of the first phase of the project. 1958: Start of work. Completion: official naming ceremony held in 1960 for Richards; primary construction finishes in 1963 for Richards and 1964 for Goddard; final completion date for entire site including documentation and landscaping is 1965.
Architectural and other Designer(s): architect(s): Louis Isadore Kahn landscape/garden designer(s): Ian T. McHarg; George Patton (ultimately, his designs for the plaza were uncompleted). other designer(s): Dr. August E. Komendant (structural consultant); Atlantic Prestressed Concrete Co. (prefabricator). Richards: Keast and Hood (structural engineers); James T. Clark (electrical engineer); Cronheim and Weger (mechanical engineers); Fred S. Dubin (mechanical and electrical engineers). building contractor(s): Joseph R. Farrell, Inc., (general contractor); additionally, for the construction of Goddard, United Engineers and Constructors were brought in to help complete the project.
Others associated with Building/Site: The two namesakes of the buildings, Alfred Newton Richard and David R. Goddard, were two notable professor and researchers of the period who assisted in the development of the buildings.
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Minimal alterations include renovations done to the buildings as needed to comply with safety codes and modernize research facilities.
Current Use: Primarily used as research and teaching facilities for the Penn Medical and Biology departments. Despite minor alterations and additions, the overall integrity of Kahn’s building design has been preserved.
Current Condition: As a whole, the site is in relatively good condition, though noticeable wear can be seen on the exterior and interior. Goddard is in worse condition than Richards, however, having been built of cheaper materials, and the masonry units and concrete have deteriorated more rapidly over time. Interior components, such as the partitions have been adjusted to accommodate necessary space, while secondary elements such as shading devices and paint have been added to the structure.
General Description:

The Richards and Goddard complex is cluster of interconnected towers, divided into “served” (the laboratory areas) and “servant spaces” (the utilities, mechanical areas, etc.). Whereas Richards had more of a “pinwheel” (Cooperman, NHL nominations draft, p. 6) type of formation, the addition of Goddard took on a more linear form. However the structural frame and stacked layout of open spaces remained key elements in the composition for both projects. The structural system which consists of an interlocking assembly of prefabricated reinforced concrete units in the form of large Vierendeel trusses, beams and H-plan columns, allowing the corner of the buildings to be “freely dissolved” (Gast, 2001, p. 60) and for a “rigorous clarity” of functional structure (Museum of Art Bulletin, 1961, v.28, n.1, p.12).

The towers are marked by exposed reinforced concrete and large steel framed windows. The masonry-clad exterior of the buildings also evokes the surrounding landscape of Cope & Stewardson’s buildings. In contrast to Richards, the exterior of Goddard also is punctuated by cubic projections which articulate the interior carrel spaces.

The interior of the buildings also retains the raw the materiality of the exterior, with, for example, exposed ductwork and piping, and rough concrete surfaces showing the formwork of the poured-in-place concrete. Exposed brick was also used in Goddard. The interior of these buildings is generally considered secondary in nature to the technical aspects of the building.

Construction Period:

Precast concrete assembly

Original Physical Context:

Site occupied by several buildings which were razed for construction, including a greenhouse and the John M. MacFarlane Hall of Botany. Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, with the southern face of the complex overlooking the BioPond (Kaskey Park). Goddard Laboratories is directly connected to Richards, which also has direct access to the John Morgan Building (1904) from its east side. Other buildings of note in the surrounding area include The Quadrangle (1895) and Leidy Laboratories (1910) built in the Collegiate Gothic style by Cope & Stewardson (which also designed the John Morgan Building).

According to the current Director for Facilities Planning and Space Management for the University, Maureen Ward, future renovations on the site seek to shift the programming of the building into the direction of ‘dry’ research only, since the current service facilities such as the HVAC are insufficient for modern laboratory demands (personal communication, February 26, 2010). In some cases, the concrete slabs have had to be reinforced, because the live loads of the current programmatic usage are too great on the existing infrastructure.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

An important person behind one of the United States’ first major precast concrete building was Kahn’s structural consultant, Dr. August E. Komendant who specialized in this new type of reinforced construction method.

The result is a structural, machine-like system that is expressive of the function of the space, and allowed for a column-less space of 45’ x 45’ on a nine-square grid to be used for the primary studio-labs. These labs were supported on a precast concrete assembly. Major components include H-columns on the perimeter of the floor-plates instead of at the corners (which allowed for more natural light to be brought into the spaces through large plate-glass windows) and Vierendeel trusses which provided an articulate, open space for the organization and distribution of the mechanical and plumbing systems. This precast assembly was assembled floor by floor, with pretensioned beams and crossbeams secured to each other by post-tensioned cables. This new system was a step forward not only for architecture, but also for the construction industry, which had to coordinate a new system of highly-precise assembly with complicated equipment, and a new process of “mass-production” on site (Leslie, 2005, p. 115) was created.

Social:

The building project became an international symbol for the University of Pennsylvania as a modern research institution. Its solid volumetric form, seamless integration of disparate parts and materials into a monolithic sculpture, towered over its surroundings. Its novel construction methods and design, in contrast to its neighboring predecessors, reinforced the new identity and future direction that Penn and the architectural community on campus wanted to take. It was to be a premier, forward-thinking, institution.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
Praised for its ”moral honesty,” (Architectural Record, April 1963, p. 26), structural clarity and ingenuity, the Richards and Goddard complex was a clear reaction against the International Style, defined by the thin glass membranes of the curtain wall systems exemplified by the PSFS building in Philadelphia. Although Perkins, in nominating Kahn, had desired to move the school away from the traditional Beaux-Arts style, Kahn did not discard his Beaux-arts background completely. Kahn was a long-time admirer of Classical structures like Trajan’s Forum and other historical monuments such as San Gimignano , and the primal materialistic quality, geometric simplicity and symmetry reflect his training and personal experience. However, not all critics appreciated the lyrical purity and beauty of the structure, especially to those working inside, many of whom found the building to be “ugly” and unimpressive, especially from the interior. The problems of solar gain and ventilation, lack of adequate laboratory space, contributed to the criticism of the building, both at its time and even today (see article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, January 28, 2009).
Historical:
General Assessment:
Before completion of the Richards/Goddard complex, critics from around the world were already heralding the project as the vanguard of the Modern Movement and a solo exhibit in 1961 by MOMA highlighting Richards seemed to solidify not only the building’s place in history, but also Kahn’s. Most articles praised the technical rigor, and simultaneously ignored its interior, which could not be completely defended, especially to the scientists who had to work in the building. In spite of its numerous problems, the building was a huge step forward not only technologically and stylistically, but also conceptually in the way that psychological analysis and human connection to the building itself and to each other were explored in the design. Furthermore, the typology of the sterile research laboratory and other programs of its type, were “elevated in status” (Cooperman, NHL nominations draft, p. 35). The legacy of the building project was immediately apparent, especially in Kahn’s work, where major themes of “served” and “servant” spaces and the overall tectonics of the building and material expression continued to be explored and played out to a certain degree of finesse, most notably as seen in the contemporaneous project of the Salk institute and Exeter Library. Similarly, the Richards and Goddard buildings would also continue to inspire other architects around the world such as Robert Venturi, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Tadao Ando in their design processes. Also, worthy of note, is the that the Richards and Goddard building is the first of Kahn’s buildings to be named a National Historic Landmark, despite not having met the requisite 50 years generally required to be considered.
Documentation
Text references:

Articles:
Anon. “Logic and Art in Precast Concrete: Medical Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA,” Architectural Record, v. 126, no. 3, September 1959, pp. 233-238.

Scully, Vincent, “The Precisionist Strain in American Architecture.” Art in America, v. 48, no. 8, 1960, pp. 46-53.

Anon. “A Theory for the Future,” Architectural Forum 112:1, January 1960, pp. 138-140.

- - - -. “Form Evokes Function,” Time 75, no. 23, June 6, 1960, p. 76.

Fitch, James Marston, “A Building of Rugged Fundamentals,” Architectural Forum, July 1960, v. 113, n.1, pp. 82-87.

Anon. “Art Serves Science,” Architectural Record, v. 128, August 1960, pp. 149-156.

Wilder, Green, “Louis I. Kahn, Architect, Alfred Newton Richards Building, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1958-1960,” Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, 1961, v. 28, n. 1, pp. 3-23.

Huxtable, Ada Louise, “In Philadelphia, An Architect,” New York Times, June 11, 1961.

“Medical Research Buildings,” Arts and Architecture, August 1961, v. 78, pp. 14-17, 28.

Banham, Reyner. “On Trial 1: The Situation: What Architecture of Technology?” Architectural Review v. 131, no. 780, February 1962, pp. 97-99.

Dixon, John Morris and James T. Burns, Jr., “Kahn’s Second Phase at Pennsylvania; New Biology Building,” Progressive Architecture 45, no. 9, September 1964, pp. 208-13.

Cooperman, Emily T. “National Historic Landmark Nominations Form,” May 2008.

Books:

Scully, Vincent, Louis I. Kahn, New York: George Braziller, 1962.

Giurgola, Romaldo and Jaimini Mehta, Louis I. Kahn, Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1975.

Latour, Alessandra, ed., Louis I. Kahn: l’uomo, il maestro, Roma: Kappa, 1986.

Ronner, Heinz and Sharad Jhaveri, Louis I. Kahn: Complete Work, 1935-1974, Basel, Birkhauser Verlag, 1987.

Latour, Alessandra, ed, Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews, New York, Rizzoli International Publications, 1991.

Brownlee, David and David G. De Long, Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture, New York, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1991.

Klaus-Peter Gast, Louis I. Kahn, Boston, Massachusetts, Birkhauser Verlag, 1999.

McCarter, Robert, Louis I. Kahn, New York, Phaidon Press, 2003.

Leslie, Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science, New York, George Braziller, 2005.

Rosa, Joseph, Louis I. Kahn, 1901-1974: Enlightened Space, Koln, Taschen, 2006.

Wiseman, Carter, Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style, New York, W.W. Norton, 2007.

Film:

”My Architect: A Son’s Journey” / a film by Nathaniel Kahn. New York Video, 2005.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Nelly Chang / March 4, 2010 nec2128@columbia.edu

Phillips Exeter Academy Library

Added by Tara Rasheed, last update: August 17, 2012, 1:00 pm

Phillips Exeter Academy Library
Exterior view, source: Paula Behrens, Penn State Libraries Pictures, date: unknown
Location
20 Main Street
Exeter, NH 03833
United States
42° 58' 43.8096" N, 70° 56' 57.9408" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Built to serve the growing needs of Phillips Exeter Academy, a private boys school in the town of Exeter. The long tradition of inspiring architecture began with the original campus plan of Ralph Adams Cram. The wish for a library that would reflect the fundamental credo, "The End is in the Beginning" of the Academy led them seek out by committee an architect of inspiring imagination. The library was to be a Temple of Learning, and Louis I. Kahn was selected to fulfill the ideal of monastic meditation of knowledge. The school worked closely with Kahn to create and open space while providing private study areas in a brick building that would be sympathetic to the surrounding Georgian designs.

Dates: Commission / Completion:1965/1971
Architectural and other Designer(s): Louis I. Kahn
Others associated with Building/Site:
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): 2004 - A $5 million, 10-month upgrade included replacing every window, cutting in conventional flashings at every level and renewing mechanical systems. To match the building's bricks, which were created in wood-fired ovens, replacements had to be custom-made by blending seven different brick types.
Current Use: Library
Current Condition: Privately maintained by Phillips Exeter Academy
General Description:

Geometric lines of a cube with chamfered corners made of primarily local red brick with teak and white oak detailing at windows. A nine story mass with eight bays on all sides. The vertical elements tapers slights toward the top reducing the impact of mass as well as indicating the structural load changes. The top floor is an open terrace which links to the ground floor arcade. The arcade that surrounds the entire ground floor obscures the entryway which is located at the north east corner. The chamfered corners offers a reveal to the shell of brick that holds the interior, again reducing the perception of bulk. The inconspicuous entrance opens to a large space, essentially a shaft of natural light at the center of the structure. Kahn often remarked that the plan was a "brick donut." The shaft, with four large circular openings, gives views of the library stacks on the upper floors as well as the structural joinery throughout the building. A grand travertine staircase leading to the library circulation desk; ascent to knowledge. The open shaft is surrounded by a hall, that is surrounded by library stacks, surrounded by a series of wooden reading carrols at windows. The idea of bringing The Book to The Light was part of the monastic tradition of libraries and symbolized the illumination within the volumes being read. Here wooden window shades on the lower portions allow the reader to comfortably adjust the light during the course of the day.

The building appearance is characterized by a limited palette of red brick, cast-in-place concrete, and white maple and teak finishes.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

Set within the pastoral Academy campus the surrounding buildings are in the Georgian style. The surrounding town of Exeter is predominantly Colonial homes. The height of Kahn's proposed Exeter library was of concern to the neighborhood and required a zoning variance to proceed with the design.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The use of local red brick and poured concrete against basic geometric forms gives an almost primitive impression. The use of natural light and unified space is one of the critical design elements in all of Kahn's designs and here, after his work on the National Assembly in Dacca, India, the earthy quality of form and functions were satisfied. The modern practice of exposed structural elements creates open dialog between the user and his environment. The honest freedom of joints, connections and raw materials are the only decorations at Exeter.

Social:

Kahn took the responsibility of library design very seriously. The circulation of the plan is always dependent on the flow of user to books, to light. The process of learning among volumes is drawn from the deeply private meditative nature of the library. The look stacks are central to every interior view. As we collect our books we move toward private areas of study by bright windows where austere and thoughtful designs do not distract but rather enhance the process of study. The full intent of the design is dependent on its function and the social and philosophical integration of form and function is inextricably tied.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The Exeter library is an excellent example of geometrically based design of modern simplicity of materials that create space for the body and shape for the eye of the user.
Historical:

Recipient of American Institute of Architects’ Twenty-five Year Award, 1997

General Assessment:
The library is one of the most remarkable achievements of Kahn's work.
Documentation
Text references:

Brownlee, David Bruce, Louis I. Kahn : in the realm of architecture, Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Rizzoli, 1991.
Brownlee, David Bruce, Louis I. Kahn : in the realm of architecture, condensed edition, New York, NY, St. Martin’s Press], 1997.
Doshi, Balkrishna V., Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn : the acrobat and the yogi of architecture, Ahmedabad, India : Vastu Shilpa Foundation for Studies and Research in Environmental Design, [1993?].
Gast, Klaus-Peter, Louis I. Kahn : das Gesamtwerk = Complete Works, München : Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, c2001.
Gast, Klaus-Peter, Louis I. Kahn : the idea of order, Boston, Mass. : Birkhäuser Verlag, 1998.
Goller, Bea, Kahn libraries = Kahn bibliotecas, Barcelona, Col.Legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, 1989.
Kahn, Louis I., The Louis I. Kahn archive : personal drawings : the completely illustrated catalogue of the drawings in the Louis I. Kahn Collection, University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Garland architectural archives, New York : Garland, 1987.
Johnson, Eugene J., Drawn from the source : the travel sketches of Louis I. Kahn, Williams College Museum of Art ; Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, c1996.
Leslie, Thomas, Louis I. Kahn: building art, building science, New York : George Braziller, 2005.
Lobell, John, Between silence and light : spirit in the architecture of Louis I. Kahn, Boulder,1979.
Wiggins, Glenn E., Louis I. Kahn : the library at Phillips Exeter Academy, New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, c1997.

Authoring
Recorder/Date:
Additional Images
Phillips Exeter Academy Library
Interior view of atrium, Source: Ken Schwarz, http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-maestros/345402258/, date: January 4, 2007

Trenton Bath House

Added by admin, last update: July 23, 2014, 5:44 pm

Location
999 Lower Ferry Road
Ewing, NJ 08628-3228
United States
40° 15' 33.264" N, 74° 47' 51.9936" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Recreation (REC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:
Dates: Commission / Completion:Commission: 1954(e), design period for site: 1954-58(e), Bath House completion: October 1957
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect: Louis I. Kahn; other designers: John Hirsch, Stanley Dube; consulting engineers: Keast & Hood
Others associated with Building/Site: Contractor: William Ehret
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: The Bath House still remains the changing and shower area for swimmers.
Current Condition: The building has extensive water damage but is reported to be structurally sound.
General Description:

The building is composed of four independent square pavilions arranged in a Greek cross. Each square is topped with a pyramidal roof. The pavilions were originally organized around a central atrium which was filled by a large, shallow, circular gravel pit. The pavilions, each assigned a single specific function, are separate shower/changing rooms for men and women, a shared basket room for clothes storage, and a grand plaza with steps up to the pool area. The corner of each pavilion performs a secondary function, the beginning of what became known as "servant" areas. Kahn would later elaborate on how the "servant" area provided support services for the primary, "served" space. These support services were accommodated within their own distinctive space, thereby creating both a recognition of their existence and a place for them within a hierarchical scheme. At the Bath House, the corners of each changing room became a hollow pier, what Kahn referred to as "hollow columns." These were designed for toilets and sinks, or were baffled entrances from the central atrium. Storage was accommodated by turning the two corner piers of the basket room into distinct areas for that purpose. A corner pier of the entrance to the pool was reserved for the pool director.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

The Day Camp is part of the same complex and was designed by the same architect. There is a large main community building, of lesser architectural value, on the site. The main building was designed later by another architect.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:
Social:

At a time when most Jewish Community Centers were still tied to urban roots, the Trenton community attempted to move to a suburban campus. Although the Bath House and Day Camp were the only elements built to Kahn's plan, the concept was progressive for the early 1950s.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The Trenton Bath House has been widely accepted as the building in which Kahn first made the full distinction between "Servant" and "Served" space. Kahn did not flinch from acknowledging the impact this had on his own future development, always making clear that "Servant" and "Served" space provided a way for him to define his own architectural path. Kahn believed his distinct spacial hierarchies were able to liberate his work from loyalty to modernism's free plan, as he made poignantly clear when he stated in 1961, "Now when I did the bath house, the Trenton Bath House, I discovered a very simple thing. I discovered that certain spaces are the real raison d'etre for doing what we are doing. But the small spaces were contributing to the strength of the larger spaces. They were serving them. And when I realized there were servant areas and there were areas served, that difference, I realized I didn't have to work for Corbusier any more. At that moment I realized I don't have to work for him at all." Comparing his private dependence on the Bath House to the public reception of the Richards Medical Research Building, Kahn noted, "If the world discovered me after I designed the Richards Medical Research Building, I discovered myself after designing that little concrete block bath house in Trenton."
Historical:
General Assessment:
By taking strands of contemporary architectural investigation and reworking them into a bold critique of modernism's free plan, wasteful spaces, and insubstantial weight, Kahn was finally able to have faith in his own process of creation. He paired Platonic geometry, clear separation of parts, strict axiality, and predetermined processional paths with romantic, naturalistic groves, gardens or plantings that implied a more picturesque means of discovery. His use of materials, while not strictly industrial, hinted at the possibility of an industrialized vernacular. Kahn unique contribution was to answer general discontent with a solution that solidified and unified disparate ideas.
Documentation
Text references:
Authoring
Recorder/Date: Susan Solomon, 22 June 2003

Yale University Art Gallery

Added by Lindsey Schweinberg, last update: August 17, 2012, 12:48 pm

Yale University Art Gallery
Location
1111 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06510
United States
41° 18' 29.3796" N, 72° 55' 49.2636" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Commission brief: To accommodate the school of architecture in the Yale University Art Gallery building through an addition to the original gallery.   The addition was to house classrooms, studios and additional gallery space.
Design brief: Kahn designed a modern addition to the original gallery to accommodate the specified program. 

Dates: Commission / Completion:Commission date: January 1951, Start of site work: June 1952, Inauguration: November 6, 1953.
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architects: Louis I. Kahn Landscape/garden designer(s): N/A Other designer(s): George Howe, Dillingham Palmer, Anne Griswold Tyne
Others associated with Building/Site: Original owner(s)/patron(s): Owner: Yale University   Patrons: Yale University students and the public Name(s): Charles Sawyer Association: Dean of Fine Arts, Yale University Events(s): Involved in entire planning, designing and building process Period: 1951-1953 
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Type of change: Alteration Date(s):1954 Circumstance/reason for change: Function Effect of change:Handrails added at entrance Person(s)/organization(s) involved: Kahn, Sawyer  Type of change: Alteration Date(s):c. 1958-1963 Circumstance/reason for change: Function Effect of change:Changes made to exhibition areas Person(s)/organization(s) involved: Yale University  Type of change: Alteration Date(s): c. 1970’s Circumstance/reason for change: Needed more space Effect of change: Court roofed over< Person(s)/organization(s) involved: Yale University Type of change:Restoration< Date(s): 2003-2006 Circumstance/reason for change:Repairs and restoration of original vision. Effects of change: Panels enclosing staircase are removed,  the roof over the courtyard is removed, the sculpture garden restored, original lighting track is replaced,  walls are removed to reopen "loft"spaces,  the west façade is rebuilt,  window walls are replaced, unoriginal partitions are removed, the roof is repaired, the systems are upgraded,  and the registrar’s office and gift shop are removed to create an open reception area.  Person(s)/organization(s) involved: Yale University, Polshek Partnership Architects, LLP
Current Use: Art gallery
Current Condition: Building and open court restored
General Description:

 Louis I. Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery is a simple, unadorned modern structure.      The building’s overall plan is two conjoined rectangles—the larger being approximately 140 ft x 80 ft and the smaller being approximately 40 ft x 50 ft.   The façade’s primary materials are glass and brick.  On the northeast and northwest facades various rectangular pieces of glass interlock to form a curtain wall that does not reveal the interior frame of the building.  The southwest facade is solid brick with projecting stone courses.  The building is connected to the original gallery at the southeast.  A sculpture court is also incorporated into the building exterior.  The interior gallery space is open plan with moveable partitions for adaptability.  Two stairways are centrally located.  One stairway, of cylindrical shape with triangular landings, is particularly distinctive.  The ceilings and floor frames are concrete, tetrahedral shaped slabs.  The majority of interior materials are left unfinished—the most significant of which is the concrete walls on which the artwork is hung.

Construction Period:

Steel beam with concrete, brick and stone

Original Physical Context:

Name of surrounding building: Yale University Art Gallery (1928, designed by Edgerton Swartout)

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The Yale University Art Gallery is the first time Kahn created a major structure of reinforced concrete.  Additionally, the use of cast concrete tetrahedral slabs as floor frames and ceilings was an altogether new innovation.  By placing the building services in a central location with the stairwells, Kahn created an open space with moveable partitions.  This provided interior flexibility that was both practical and inventive.  The unfinished concrete walls provide a simple and honest surface on which to the display art.  

Social:

The gallery has been used by generations of Yale students.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The gallery is an important visual and cultural presence at Yale and in the community of New Haven.  Since the building was an addition, its success in relating to the existing structure is essential to its overall success.   Patricia Cummings Loud notes that the gallery’s dimensions, proportions and colors blend the new structure with the old.   The building’s most notable elements are its tactile materials and surfaces, bold geometric forms, crisp lines, and sensitive use of light.  The variety and tensions that stem from the interplay of these elements (such as the play with natural and artificial light and the tension between delicate partitions and heavy concrete walls) creates a dynamic and aesthetically successful space.  Canonical status: Often considered the first of Kahn’s masterpieces, The Yale Art Gallery is representative of a new dimension in Kahn’s work and foreshadows the works of his later career.   In the larger sense, Kahn’s gallery “Represented a turn away from mainstream Modernism” and, in essence, “escaped…Modernism’s suffocating orthodoxies.”    This departure reflects the evolving aesthetic of the modern style and opened a new period of modern design.  Some, such as architect Reyner Banham, cite this work as the inspiration for Brutalist architecture.
Historical:
General Assessment:
Documentation
Text references:

Branch, Mark Allen. “The Gallery Goes Home.” Yale Alumni Magazine. May 2003.
(http://www.alumnimagazine.com/">www.alumnimagazine.com)
Christoffersen, John. “Yale Reopening Renowned Art Building.” The Washington Post. 2 December 2006.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/)
Genocchio, Benjamin. “Brought Back to Life, a Modernist Gallery Regains Its Edge.” The New York Times. 10 December 2006. , Loud, Patricia Cummings. The Art Museums of Louis Kahn. U.S.A.: Duke University Press, 1989.
Ostroff, Tracy. “Polshek Partnership Restores a Kahn Landmark at Yale.” AIAarchitect. 19 January 2007. (http://www.aia.org/), Ouroussoff, Nicolai. “Restoring Kahn’s Gallery and Reclaiming a Corner of Architectural History at Yale.” The New York Times.
11 December 2006.
Ronner, Heinz and Sharad Jhaveri. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Work 1935-1974. Boston: Birkhauser, 1987.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Amanda Crawley New York, NY 2/25/2007
Attachments

Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Added by Lindsey Schweinberg, last update: August 17, 2012, 12:33 pm

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Location
10010 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037
United States
32° 53' 14.0244" N, 117° 14' 48.4512" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:
Dates: Commission / Completion:March 15th, 1960 – Salk announces project, Kahn presents first scheme. Late 1967 – Completion of Core Buildings
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect(s): Louis I. Kahn Landscape/Garden Designer(s): Lawrence Halprin Other Designer(s): Luis Barragan (consulting friend/modernist Mexican architect)  Consulting Engineer(s): August Komendant (Structural Engineer), Earl Walls (Lab Consultant), Fred Dubin (Mechanical Engineer)
Others associated with Building/Site: Original Owner(s)/Patron(s): Dr. Jonas Salk Name(s): Renato Dulbecco Association: The Nobel Foundation Event(s): Nobel Prize Period: 1975 Name(s): Roger Guillemin Association: The Nobel Foundation Event(s): Nobel Prize Period: 1977 Name(s): Sydney Brenner Association: The Nobel Foundation Event(s): Nobel Prize Period: 1975
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Type of Change: Addition:Highly controversial addition of two new lab buildings to the East of the original two lab buildings. Cost: $21 Million Date(s):  1992 – 1996 (C) Circumstances/Reasons for Change: Led by founder Jonas Salk, the campus had always intended on expanding and was now doing so to accommodate for more labs, an auditorium, and a primary lobby space. Effects of Changes: Grove of Eucalyptus trees removed from East end of court.  Persons/Organizations Involved: Architect: Anshen + Allen, Los Angeles (Architects David Rinehart and John MacAllister. Rinehart was a former employee of Louis Kahn). Landscape Architects: Sherr & Wagner, Kawasaki Theilacher Ueno + Assoc. Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners Civil: Barrett Consulting Group Consultants: Earl Walls; Carmen Nordsten Igonda Design; Debra Nichols Design; Cermack Peterka Petersen General Contractor: McCarthy Brothers Company
Current Use: Of Whole Building/Site:Neuroscience Research, Molecular and Cellular Biology Research
Current Condition: Of Whole Building/Site: Good Of Principal Components: The institute is continuing to grow and maintain itself. Of Other Elements: The Eucalyptus grove (although Kahn intention debated) has been removed. Entry to the complex through the grove to the barren courtyard has been compromised by Ashen + Allen addition. Of Surrounding Area: Surrounding area has grown from a secluded research village to a larger district of institutions and facilities.
General Description:

Sited at the head of a ravine along coastal bluffs, the Institute's integrated building complex and natural setting provide a contemplative working environment for a community of scientists. The austere central plaza is flanked by the symmetrical, four-story, semi-detached rows of researcher studies in bays with diagonal walls oriented toward the sea. Behind, linked to the studies by bridges, are free plan laboratory spaces.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

Name(s) of Surrounding Area/Building(s):   Torrey Pines Natural Reserve
Visual Relations: North Building (original): Molecular Cell Biology South Building (original): Neurosciences
Functional Relations: Lab building proximity relationship essential

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

Salk wanted flexible laboratory space – meaning free of columns and walls with the ability to adapt to changes over time. The Engineer Komendant suggested the use of a 9-foot tall Vierendeel truss to span the 65-foot wide labs. Those trusses became the “Interstitial Space” to house the mechanical systems and larger machinery. The alternate floors became free.

Social:

This project improved the science of science; researchers became more collaborative and development accelerated. This seemingly simple act changed the way research was conducted, from the historical double-loaded corridor of cellular labs – to a more integrated adaptable lab. The impact on human inter-relations transformed. It is also important to note Kahn’s deliberate design of space for the individual, small group, and large collective. He also designed the possibilities of serendipitous interaction through careful consideration of spatial relationships and their derivative circulation.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The formal characteristics of the complex, including pure geometrical forms has been attributed to both Kahn’s interest in ancient western ruins and Salk’s interest in Assisi, Italy.
Historical:

Reverence for the building was escalated in the early 1990’s when the Ashen + Allen addition was proposed. The number of conversations that the new design sparked was enormous. The number of journal articles prior to that are very limited.
Although not the first lab building to use the free-plan, Salk's lab in Philadelphia inspired the idea in La Jolla.

General Assessment:
Documentation
Text references:

Forms of attachment: additions to modern American monuments Michael Sorkin. Lotus international 1992, n.72, p.90-95. Summary: Four examples are used: Kimbell Art Museum (Louis I Kahn; Mitchell Giurgola & Thorp); Guggenheim Museum (F. L. Wright; Gwathmey Siegel); Whitney Museum (Michael Graves); Salk Institute (Louis Kahn; Anshen & Allen). Salk Institute Wins 25-Year Award Architecture 1992 Feb., v.81, no.2, p.23, ISSN 0746-0554 Salk Institute Controversy [letter] Kenneth Frampton Architectural Review 1992 Apr., v.190, no.1142, p.10, ISSN 0003-861X Salk Institute, Louis I Kahn Steele, James Architecture in Detail. Phaidon Press Limited, London, 1993. The Salk Talks Kathy Chia, Suzanne Stephens. Oculus 1993 Jan., v.55, n.5, p.11-13. Summary: Dr. Jones Salk spoke on his relationship with Louis Kahn at the Architecture League on November 4, 1992. There are plans to add to Salk's Institute in La Jolla, California. Includes a response by the architect for the addition. Criticism: a reading of Louis Kahn's Salk Institute Laboratories Jeffry Kieffer. A + U: architecture and urbanism 1993 Apr., n.271, p.3-17, ISSN 0389-9160. Abstract/Summary The Salk Institute for Biological Research in La Jolla, built 1959-1965. Save the Salk? Or are devotees missing the point about Kahn? Aaron Betsky. In: L.A. architect 1993 Apr., p.[8]-9. Salk addition: pro and con Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Brian Henderson. Architecture 1993 July, v.82, n.7, p.41,43,45, ISSN 0746-0554.
Abstract/Summary Presents opinions on the addition, by Anshen + Allen, to Kahn's Salk Institute in La Jolla. Con: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Pro: Brian Henderson, president of the Salk Institute. Add and subtract [Salk addition debate] Michael J. Crosbie. Progressive architecture 1993 Oct., v.74, n.10, p.48-51, ISSN 0033-0752. Abstract/Summary "...offers new reasons to question this disputed project." Addition by Anshen and Allen. Between beakers and beatitudes [Salk addition] Michael Benedikt. Progressive architecture 1993 Oct., v.74, n.10, p.52-53, ISSN 0033-0752. Abstract/Summary "...speculates on how an addition to Kahn's Salk Institute can bridge this landmark's dual role." Dissecting the Salk Michael J. Crosbie. Progressive architecture 1993 Oct., v.74, n.10, p.[40]-47, ISSN 0033-0752.
Abstract/Summary History of the designed by Louis Kahn and the controversial addition. Includes interview with Jonas Salk. Add and Subtract Crosbie, Michael J. Progressive Architecture, Oct. 1993, v. 74, n. 10, p.48-51. The Salk Sinks Katherine Kai-Sun Chia. Oculus 1993 Nov., v.56, n.3, p.12. Abstract/Summary Construction proceeds on the controversial addition to the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Concrete controversy at the Salk Raul A. Barreneche. Architecture 1996 Mar., v.85, n.3, p.125-129, ISSN 0746-0554. Abstract/Summary On the debate over patenting the process used by Anshen + Allen for the concrete construction of the New East Building at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. The Salk's addition Joseph Giovannini. Architecture 1996 Mar., v.85, n.3, p.[72]-[81], ISSN 0746-0554. Abstract/Summary East Building, Salk Institute for the Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California. Architects: Anshen + Allen. Original architect: Louis Kahn. Tod Williams & Billie Tsien [interview]. GA document 1997 Apr., n.50, p.[42]-45, ISSN 0389-0066. Abstract/Summary An account of their initial work designing the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, Calif. and their impressions of Kahn's Salk Institute there. The Salk Institute Architecture & Engineering Ashen, Allen, et al The Salk Institute for Biological Studies. La Jolla, CA. 2000? (No other publication information) Avery Library Call No. AA685 K121 Sa343. Things in their best order: technical aspects of the Salk Institute and their role in its design Thomas Leslie. Journal of architecture 2003 Spring, v.8, n.1, p.95-113, ISSN 1360-2365.
Abstract/Summary Using correspondence from the Louis I. Kahn archives at the University of Pennsylvania, the author suggests an alternative understanding of Kahn's work as empirical, evolutionary and based on engineering. Masters of light: Louis Kahn: Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, USA, 1965 Henry Plummer. A + U: architecture and urbanism 2003 Nov., extra edition, p.176-183, ISSN 0389-9160.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Name of Reporter: Randall Holl Address: 549 Riverside Drive, Apt 3A; New York, NY 10027; USA Telephone: 1-612-991-5383 E-Mail: rmh2118@columbia.edu Date of Report:March 2, 2007
DOCOMOMO US
P.O. Box 230977
New York, NY 10023
Terms of use | Contact | Privacy Policy | Credits
© 2014 DOCOMOMO US Syndicate content Google+