4. The walls of the ‘Room’ were designed to give a glimpse beyond the island

The final stage of a visitor’s journey into FDR Four Freedoms Park is the Room. A three-sided open air chamber with twelve foot-high granite walls, the Room for architect Louis Kahn represented both the essential building block of architecture and an extension of the self:

“I had this thought that a memorial should be a Room and a Garden. That’s all I had. Why did I want a Room and a Garden? I just chose it to be the point of departure. The Garden is somehow a personal nature, a personal kind of control of nature, a gathering of nature. And the Room was the beginning of architecture. I had this sense, you see, and the Room wasn’t just architecture, but was an extension of self.”
– Louis Kahn in a lecture at the Pratt Institute in 1973

If you take a minute to look beyond the beauty of the design in the Room’s interior, small glimpses of New York City all around the park come into view. The granite pillars of the Room’s walls are each six feet wide and spaced one inch apart. From a distance, this spacing appears minimal. Step closer, and scenes of Manhattan and Queens open up to your eye through this miniscule opening. Try to see what kind of photo you can get with such an unusual frame!