The Dominican Motherhouse and a Modern Culture of Space
Published by Lars Müller Publishers. Text by Michael Merrill.
It was not by chance that Louis Kahn’s (1901–74) rise to fame coincided with a crisis in modern architecture: his work represented, increasingly with time, those aspects of spatial design which modernism had so ambitiously removed from its program. Kahn’s rethinking of modern architecture’s paradigm of space belongs to his most important contributions to the discipline, and his unbuilt 1965–69 project the Dominican Motherhouse, for Media, Pennsylvania, expresses this perfectly.
A place of worship intended for the Sisters of St. Catherine de Ricci, it includes a sanctuary, a chapel, dormitory cells, classrooms, a kitchen, a meeting room, refectory and an entrance tower. Sadly the project never saw the light, as the Dominican Sisters diminished in numbers and the budget got tighter.
In this volume we are given a close-up view of Kahn at work on a fundamental questions of architectural space: seeking the sources of its meaning in its social, morphological, landscape and contextual dimensions. A second section sheds new light on several other major works by Kahn. The result of extensive research, illustrated with unpublished archival material and new analytic drawings, this affordable volume is an indispensable companion to Louis Kahn: Drawing to Find Out.