American architect Louis Kahn may not be as well known as icons like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, but he earned a place in the pantheon of modern architecture with projects such as the Salk Institute, National Parliament House of Bangladesh, and Kimbell Arts Museum. Kahn was a long-time professor of architecture at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. Despite a number of plans to build structures in New York City, he only had one successful design: FDR Four Freedoms Park. However, Kahn constructed a number of buildings in upstate New York and in neighboring states, many of which incorporated his monolithic and brutalist buildings. Here are six buildings designed by Louis Kahn in and around New York.
1. FDR Four Freedoms Park
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, was New York City’s long-awaited memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Four Freedoms Park is located adjacent to the historic Smallpox Hospital, one of the most iconic and intact structures still remaining from the mid-to-late 19th century. It was also proposed that the island in the middle of the East River — then called “Welfare Island” – be renamed in Roosevelt’s honor.
The city commissioned architect Louis Kahn for the memorial, and in 1973 he began drawing up its plans. The park, which is Kahn’s only design in New York City, was his last major work before his death in 1974. Kahn died of a heart attack in Penn Station, with a final rendering of his completed design for Four Freedoms Park in his briefcase at the time. All materials for the memorial were shipped in via barges, which were loaded up in New Jersey and sent down the East River, since the Roosevelt Island Bridge has a weight limit. An excerpt of Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union speech outlining his four freedoms is inscribed on the back of the stone frame that holds up his bust, Each granite paving stone is a cube and measures four feet by four feet by four feet — a three-dimensional representation of the Four Freedoms embedded in the park’s physical foundation. Four Freedoms Park also neighbors a cat sanctuary just to the north inside Southpoint Park,