VANITY FAIR On The Genius of Louis Kahn’s Connected And Contemplative New Roosevelt Memorial

by • October 27, 2012 • Architecture, Art, Design, History, Nature, Politics, SpiritualityComments (0)2493

There’s a lot of buzz in the architecture community of America right now about the magnificent new Four Freedoms Park Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial recently unveiled on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, in the East River, right alongside Manhattan.

As VANITY FAIR’s Paul Goldberger writes, “The memorial was designed in 1974, shortly before Kahn’s sudden death of a heart attack in Pennsylvania Station.  He was, at that point, the most revered living architect in the United States, a kind of philosopher-king of his profession whose oeuvre was small, and consisted almost entirely of masterworks such as the Salk Center in La Jolla, California, the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven.”  Goldberger opens with an interesting analysis of the many risks and dangers associated with bringing architecture to life from the designs and drawings of an architect who has since passed away.  But somehow these risks have been “miraculously” avoided with Kahn’s Roosevelt Memorial, unveiled 38 years after the architect’s death.

You can read the entire fascinating essay by visiting, and be sure to visit the memorial’s site at  And if you have not yet seen the 2003 Louis Kahn documentary My Architect: A Son’s Journey, directed by his son Nathaniel Kahn, you can watch it below in full.


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