My Architect: A Son’s Journey

The documentary film, My Architect: A Son’s Journey, was released in 2004. I had not yet had the opportunity to see the film, so when it was showing at the Architecture and Design Film Festival, I put it on my list, as it was a title I wanted to check out.

My Architect is a story about a father and a son. Not just any pair, it is the tale of renowned architect Louis Kahn, told through they eyes of his son, filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn.

The film begins with the story of Mr. Kahn’s death. Louis Kahn was found dead in Penn Station in 1974. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Kahn’s importance to modern architecture, but did not mention that he had a son. Lous Kahn left behind three families; one with his wife of many years and two with women whom he’d had long term affairs.. Nathaniel travels the globe for five years and traces his father’s past, interviewing family, and colleagues. He speaks to Louis’ peers, including Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and I.M. Pei. I found these interviews to be most interesting. There was tremendous respect given to Louis Kahn for his built work, by some of the most famous Architects in the world.

Nathaniel visited the built work of Louis Kahn in search of meaning and  truth about the father he barely knew. Nathaniel quickly developed a deep connection to these buildings, as they have a strong presence an offered an opportunity to relate to the father he could rarely see in life.

I posses tremendous admiration for the architecture of Louis Kahn. He was the master of simplicity and composition, which can be experienced fully in projects such as The Salk Institute, in La Jolia California . He worked with materials which offered permanence; geometric compositions of brick, concrete and light. I find his buildings to be intensely powerful and spiritual.

I recommend My Architect: A Son’s Journey. It was an emotional story of a father and son. The film also provided a glimpse into the private life and spirit of this gifted Architect.

Images courtesy of the official film website.


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