The Power of Architecture

DCI sponsors new exhibit on work of visionary architect Louis Kahn

DCI Engineers is proud to be a sponsor for a new retrospective of the work of Louis Kahn at the Bellevue Arts Museum that has something to offer engineers, architects and builders alike.

Called “America’s foremost living architect” by the New York Times at the time of his death in 1974, Kahn’s work greatly influenced the work of modern architects such as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor and Sou Fujimoto, all of whom are featured in interviews as part of the exhibit. Kahn’s work is hailed as a marriage between tradition and modernism, managing to encompass the symmetry and grandeur of ancient Roman architecture with modern technology and building methods.

Despite the prevailing wisdom of the time that emphasized simplicity and utility, Kahn was known for designing grand and monumental public buildings, such as the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Kahn is also known for his visionary urban planning theories, including plans for the future of Philadelphia that included large parking towers and a pedestrian-centric layout for downtown – radical and iconoclastic in the 1950s.

In an era when architects were drawn to the most efficient and modern building materials like steel, concrete and glass, Kahn pushed himself to find ways to incorporate unconventional materials such as ceramic and copper. While many of Kahn’s buildings set new standards for the use of architectural concrete, he also refused to dismiss traditional building materials that technology had rendered obsolete, such as brick:

“If you think of Brick, you say to Brick, ‘What do you want, Brick?’ And Brick says to you, ‘I like an Arch.’ And if you say to Brick, ‘Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do you think of that, Brick?’ Brick says, ‘I like an Arch.’ And it’s important, you see, that you honor the material that you use … You can only do it if you honor the brick and glorify the brick instead of shortchanging it.”

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture features all of Kahn’s notable projects through architectural models, original drawings, photographs and films. The exhibition runs at the Bellevue Art Museum through May 1. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, students or members of the military for $30 for a family. DCI Engineers is proud to play a part in teaching a new generation about Kahn’s legacy, which calls on everyone in the A/E/C industries to reconsider their assumptions about the built environment.

About the author

Caleb Heeringa

Caleb Heeringa, Communications Coordinator | Caleb enjoys immersing himself in the A/E/C industry and informing audiences about DCI’s contribution to state-of-the-art structural development. Preferring a conversational style, he naturally narrates the firm’s design approach and project details to professionals in other industries. With a knack for adventure, he enjoys international travel and exploring the back corners of Washington’s wilderness.

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