The Organic Imagination and Louis Kahn
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This thesis investigates the relationship between architecture, Romanticism, American Transcendentalism, myth, and religious mysticism in the ideas of the American architect, Louis Kahn. Part One builds a chronology from Hermeticism and Jewish mysticisms into German Romanticism and how they played a role in the world of Kahnâ s parents shortly before his birth. The first chapter looks at mysticism and how it resonates with Kahnâ s descriptions of silence and light. The second chapter outlines the transition from rational aesthetics during the German Enlightenment into German Romanticism. This exposes the beginning of organicism as a way of seeing the world as a growth from a mythic image towards a physical manifestation made by artists and poets. In chapter three, the ideas from Romanticism inspire a philosophical and political movement for independence and cultural expression in the native region of Kahnâ s parents. Part Two concentrates on the American approach to Romanticism via Transcendentalism and how Transcendentalism influenced Kahnâ s childhood education in Philadelphia. It shows how the ideas of German Romanticism influenced English literature and criticism, especially Coleridgeâ s theories of organicism and literary criticism. Chapter four presents how the American Transcendentalists correlated the mind and imagination to an organism. In chapter five, we see how Transcendentalismâ s aesthetic theory influenced the Public Industrial Arts School of Philadelphiaâ s approach to teaching art. Louis Kahn attended this school. The final chapter deciphers Kahnâ s ideas, such as â form and design,â â material as spent light,â â measurable and unmeasurable,â â law and rule,â â order,â and â nature.â Within the framework of Romanticism and American Transcendentalism, these ideas become intelligible and an enriching approach to understand his architecture.
- Masters Theses