Friday, October 5, 2012

Louis Kahn's FDR Memorial!

This summer I had the privilege of visiting the FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island, designed by none other than Louis Kahn.  Thanks to my professor Christian Volkman from the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York and Sciame Construction for arranging this tour for my fellow students and I.

It was also my first trip to Roosevelt Island, which added to the excitement of the trip.  But seeing the monument, even when it was still in construction, really was amazing.  Even after his death, the memorial is true to Kahn's high level of quality and detail, thanks to a few architects on the job who used to work with Mr. Kahn and are helping to preserve his vision.

Every single part of this memorial is constructed out of Mount Airy Granite as per Louis Kahn's original specification.  It is a bright white, with a few black and gray specks.  The lines are clean and strong, with open joints between each block.  The precision is incredible, and I can't wait to go back when it is complete.

I have had issues in the past, with buildings that almost seem like they were made more for the photographs in magazines than for the people who lived there. And then there are the buildings that don't look so great when you read about them and look at photos, but are incredible when you visit them in person.  This memorial has both qualities.  It has that harmonious balance of proportions, materials, and spirit.  It took my breath away.  The palpable quiet, the utter peace one can experience there.  I enjoyed it when I was there, and I enjoy it still now as I look back at the photos a few months later.  

To read more about the memorial and updates on his progress, click here and here.

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