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Architect Louis I. Kahn
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Location Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania   map
Date 1959 to 1961   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System wood frame, dark stucco, large windows
Climate temperate
Context suburban
Style Modern
Images

 


Photo

Photo

Photo
Drawings

 


Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing, Lower Floor

Plan Drawing, Upper Floor

Section Drawing

Discussion Esherick House Commentary

"Kahn built relatively few houses. In each there seems to be a larger-scale building trying to escape from the confines of the client's budget. In the Esherick House, the inherent monumentality of the plan is diminished by the fact that the major living spaces are surrounded by very thick walls. In the double-height living room, the fireplace wall is literally deep. The opposite wall in plan also has a fireplace used in the bathroom, but the wall is thicker containing a zone of servant spaces, kitchen, bathrooms, closets which are not part of the axial symmetry of the two major living spaces.. The two window walls are also thick but these frame walls with alcoves or niches between the casements. The most intricate planning occurs on the first floor where the sliding doors between the gallery and bedroom, and then between bedroom and bathroom, suggest a flow of space from void to room to altar."

— David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century Volume 2: Houses 1945-1989. p52-53.

The Creator's Words

"House of Dark Stucco, stained natural wood reveals for windows. The building will not look flat. The deep reveal of windows, entrance alcoves and 2nd floor lower porches will give it an alive look at all times. The 2 parts of the building divided by the alcoves should offer subtle silhouette."

— Louis I. Kahn. from Heinz Ronner, with Sharad Jhaveri and Alessandro Vasella Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-74. p134.

Two Houses

"The Kitchen wants to be the Living Room.
The Bed Room wants to be a little house by itself.
The car is the room on wheels.

In searching for the nature of the spaces of housemight they not be separated a distance from each other theoretically before they are brought together. A predetermined total form might inhibit what the various spaces want to be. Architectural interpretations accepted without reflection could obscure the search for signs of a true nature and a higher order. The order of construction should suggest an even greater variety or design in the interpretations of what space aspires to become and more versatilityin expression of the ever present problems of levels, services, the sun, the wind and the rain."

— Louis I. Kahn. from Alessandra Latour, ed. Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews. p60.

Resources
Sources on Esherick House

David B. Brownlee and David G. DeLong. Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1992. ISBN 0-8478-1323-1. LC 91-9760. NA737.K32876. photo of front facade, f253, p155. photo of rear facade. f250, p152-153. exterior elevation photo, p52-53.

David Dunster. Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century, Volume 2: Houses 1945-1989. Boston: Butterworth Architecture, 1990. ISBN 0-408-50029-8. LC 85-42945. NA680.D86 1985. discussion p52-53.

Alessandra Latour, ed. Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews. New York: Rizzoli International, 1991. ISBN 0-8478-1331-2. LC 90-50794. NA737.K32A2 1991. p60.

Heinz Ronner with Sharad Jhaveri and Alessandro Vasella. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-74. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1977. ISBN 0-89158-648-2. xNA737.K32R66. p134.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, p129. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.—

 


 

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