1st Edition

Kahn at Penn Transformative Teacher of Architecture

By James Williamson Copyright 2015
    204 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    Louis I. Kahn is widely known as an architect of powerful buildings. But although much has been said about his buildings, almost nothing has been written about Kahn as an unconventional teacher and philosopher whose influence on his students was far-reaching. Teaching was vitally important for Kahn, and through his Master’s Class at the University of Pennsylvania, he exerted a significant effect on the future course of architectural practice and education.

    This book is a critical, in-depth study of Kahn’s philosophy of education and his unique pedagogy. It is the first extensive and comprehensive investigation of the Kahn Master’s Class as seen through the eyes of his graduate students at Penn.

    Introduction, Part I: 1. Louis I. Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania, 2. A Philosophy of Education, 3. A Man Under a Tree, 4. Pedagogy in Practice, 5. Kahn and his Students, 6. Kahn and the Psychology of Creativity, 7. Kahn in the Light of Contemporary Architectural Education, Part II: 8. Teachers and Practitioners, 9. After Lou (John Tyler Sidener, Jr.), 10. Kahn’s Voice, (Richard T. Reep, Sr.), 11. Learn, Do, Order, Reflect…The Cycle of A Career (Max A. Robinson), 12. The Kahn Connection (Gary Moye), 13. From the Ground (Stan Field), 14. Lessons Learned…Lessons Applied (James L. Cutler), 15. Becoming and Being, Reflections on a Career (Sherman Aronson), Epilogue: A Teacher’s Legacy, Appendices: Design Problems and Student Demography, 1955-74, Appendix A: Class Problems and Student Demography, 1955-74, Appendix B: Country of Origin, Appendix C: Institutions of Higher Education Attended prior to Enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania


    James F. Williamson is a professor of architecture at the University of Memphis and has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Drexel University, and Rhodes College. He holds two Master of Architecture degrees from Penn, where he was a student in Louis Kahn’s Master’s Class of 1974. He was later an Associate with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. For over 30 years he practiced as a principal in his own firm in Memphis with special interests in religious and institutional architecture. Williamson was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in recognition of his contributions in architectural design and education. He is the recipient of the 2014 AIA Edward S. Frey Award for career contributions to religious architecture and support of the allied arts.

    "A value of Kahn at Penn: Transformative Teacher of Architecture (Routledge, 2015) is that editor and architect James Williamson included the scathing remarks of former Kahn students who felt Kahn’s language was unnecessarily abstract and obscure, even to their ears shallow and misleading. These accusations have been issued elsewhere in print before – but in the context of this kind of symposium on Kahn as architectural pedagogue the reports by naysayers assure this book won’t be taken as hagiography." - Norman Weinstein, Architectural Review