"The importance of a drawing is immense, because it’s the architect’s language." — Louis Kahn to his masterclass, 1967
Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974) was one of the most significant architects of the twentieth century and his influence is present today in ways both profound and subtle. Unlike previous publications on Kahn, which have focused on his built work and which considered the drawings foremost as illustrations of these, this is the first in-depth study of drawings as primary sources of insight into Kahn’s architecture and creative imagination.
By offering a spectrum of close readings of drawings by Kahn and his associates in a series of incisive and richly illustrated essays, this book is at once an intimate artistic portrait of this important architect and a provocative and timely contribution to the current discourse on representation in architecture. For architects and students of architecture, Kahn’s lasting significance is not only in the buildings he built, but in how he designed them.
Based on unprecedented archival research, engagingly presented by a group of eminent scholars and architects, and lavishly illustrated with over 900 highest quality reproductions, The Importance of a Drawing is destined to become a standard work in the literature on Louis Kahn.
“[…] this book fills a void and does it in a way that should please any fan of Kahn”
“a deep examination of Kahn’s creative process, as told through the medium of the hand drawing, as well as a revealing portrait of the man behind those buildings and illustrations”
– Common Edge
“What a treasure trove Kahn produced, more than six thousand drawings and sketches waiting in the archive for someone with Merrill’s bent and skill to come along”
– JSAH Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
“[…] stands as a forceful argument for the importance of printed books – for architects, teachers, and above all for students”
– Drawing Matter
“This book is not only visually beautiful, but has a trove of insights into the creative process of design”
– Rhapsody in Books
«Ein deutlicheres Bekenntnis zum Medium Zeichnung ist eigentlich nicht denkbar»
«Anders als sonstige Monografien nähert sich dieses großartige Buch daher dem Werk des amerikanischen Meisters von den Entwürfen her, was ein echter Gewinn ist»
Edited by Michael Merrill
With contributions by Michael Benedikt, Michael Cadwell, David Leatherbarrow, Louis Kahn, Nathaniel Kahn, Sue Ann Kahn, Michael J. Lewis, Robert McCarter, Michael Merrill, Marshall Meyers, Jane Murphy, Gina Pollara, Harriet Pattison, Colin Rowe, David Van Zanten, Richard Wesley, William Whitaker
Design: Integral Lars Müller