Louis Kahn / Kimbell Art Museum
I’ve just returned from Dallas, Texas and visited the Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn. I’ve always admired Kahn’s work and studied the building in architecture school, but visiting the museum in person took my admiration to a whole new level after seeing the details of this incredible building designed in 1972.
Kahn designed the museum with the idea of creating a space that evoked “the luminosity of silver” and that was certainly what I felt on this cloudy day looking at the Impression show currently on view.
The concrete, unfilled travertine and stainless steel used in the construction of the museum further expand on this vision and come together beautifully.
The craftsmanship of the interior and exterior create galleries that are illuminated in a soft but effective way with no glare from the natural light that comes in through slits in the tops of the vaults and washes the concrete ceiling. Gently curved stainless steel and mesh panels with concealed lighting further enhance this silvery light quality throughout the galleries.
One of the details that I found most intriguing was the stainless steel handrail which is made from one piece of formed stainless steel and felt so incredible to my hand. The light that reflects on the shiny surface of the handrail travels all the way from the upper to the lower levels, truly inspiring!
Renzo Piano, who worked in Kahn’s office has been chosen to design a new building extenision scheduled for completion in 2013. The building will also utilize concrete and stainless steel as the primary construction materials. I highly recommend a trip to the Kimbell Museum of Art and The Modern Museum of Art by Tadao Ando across the street and will write further about it in my next post.