Architecture Exhibitions International

ETH Zürich

Louis Khan
Silence and Light

Nov 21–Dec 11, 2019
© Louis Khan

In spring 1969, the Division of Architecture at ETH Zurich, now the Department of Architecture, presented the first comprehensive exhibition on the work of architect Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974), at the opening of which Kahn gave his famous lecture “Silence and Light.”

Kahn is considered one of the great architects of the twentieth century. He designed and realized buildings whose complex spatial compositions and choreographed light express an archaic beauty. His architecture is articulated through classic and timeless forms: the circle, the pyramid, the prism and the cylinder, which inform the character of architectural elements such as the wall and the column. The presence of Kahn’s buildings, their archaic resonance, originates in this historic vocabulary.
Kahn studied at the University of Pennsylvania School of Fine Arts under Paul Philippe Cret, in the Beaux-Arts tradition. In 1928 he undertook his first trip to Europe. His stay at the American Academy in Rome in 1950 and his associated studies and analysis of ancient buildings in Italy, Greece and Egypt had a lasting effect on Kahn’s understanding of architecture.

The exhibition includes excerpts from the exhibition catalogue “Louis Kahn. Dokumentation Arbeitsprozesse” (“Documentation of Work Processes”) from 1969, as well as layout templates, and presents well- and lesser-known projects and buildings. In twelve thematically arranged showcases chronological developments in the work of Kahn become visible and comprehensible.
On the occasion of the fiftieth jubilee of Kahn’s lecture “Silence and Light” the symposium asks for the relevance and significance as well as the reception of his work at that time and in retrospective from today’s prospect. Architects and historians discuss about space-creating elements, materialization and the geometric language of form in his creation and establish a relation to their own projects. The symposium is conceived by the lectureship of Roger Boltshauser and the professorship of Adam Caruso.

Program

Thursday, 21 November 2019

1:00–1:45 pm
Opening Session with Roger Boltshauser and Adam Caruso
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

2:00–3:30 pm
Panel “Structure and Space” with Roger Boltshauser, Annette Gigon, Yvonne Farrell, and Shelley McNamara, moderated by Maarten Delbeke
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

4:00–5:30 pm
Panel “History and Technique” with Marie-José van Hee, Jaume Mayol, and Thomas Padmanabhan, moderated by Adam Caruso
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

6:00–7:30 pm
Evening lecture by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects, Dublin
Auditorium E 4, HIL, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

Friday, 22 November 2019

10:00–11:00 am
Exhibition opening with lecture and book launch by Alessandro Vassella, editor of “Louis I. Kahn – Silence and Light,” reprint Zurich 2019
E 67/Red Hell, HIL, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

11:30 am–1:00 pm
Panel “The 1969 Exhibition: A Critical Legacy” with Elli Mosayebi, Werner Oechslin, and Martin Tschanz, moderated by Sonja Hildebrand
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

2:00–3:30 pm
Panel “Bangladesh: A Critical Legacy” with Florian Sauter, Marina Tabassum, and Shamsul Wares, moderated by Helen Thomas
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

4:00–5:30 pm
Panel “Town Planning – From Beaux Art to Critical Modernism” with André Bideau, Niklaus Graber and Kathleen James-Chakraborty, moderated by Stanislaus von Moos
Open Space 2, HIB, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

6:00–7:30 pm
Evening lecture by Mario Botta, Mendrisio
Auditorium E 4, HIL, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg

The exhibition is supported by Lehni AG.