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Grant number like: FZ-230902-15

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Wendy Lesser
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Berkeley, CA 94709-1533)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage][Prizes]

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 7/31/2016

American Architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974): A Portrait in Light and Shadow

The writing of a biography of a 20th-century American architect known for his public buildings: government centers, museums, religious centers, educational research complexes, and memorial parks.

My project will be the first full-length biography of the architect Louis Kahn, and the only book about him to be aimed at a wide general audience. Architecture is a pertinent subject for all of us --we live amidst it, whether we wish to or not-- and if the twentieth century produced a "public" American architect, Louis Kahn was it. He did not design shopping centers or fancy hotels or expensive condominium towers or corporate skyscrapers. Instead, he focused on medical and educational research complexes, government centers, art museums, libraries, memorial parks, religious buildings,and other structures that would serve the public good. At the same time, the private side of his life was so complex, so obscure, and sometimes so unconventional that it has been largely unexplored in any of the works written about him. Yet even with these personal complications, Kahn remains an exemplary figure in architecture.