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Lot 78: KAHN, Louis (1901-1974), Architect . Seven typed letter signed ("Louis I. Kahn") to Isidore Melamed, ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AFL MEDICAL PLAN BUILDING, 1955-1957. Together 7 pages, 4to, personal stationery, with 14-photographs of the

Est: $2,000 USD - $3,000 USD
Christie'sNovember 15, 2011New York, NY, US

Item Overview

Description

KAHN, Louis (1901-1974), Architect. Seven typed letter signed ("Louis I. Kahn") to Isidore Melamed, ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AFL MEDICAL PLAN BUILDING, 1955-1957. Together 7 pages, 4to, personal stationery, with 14-photographs of the building, carbons of incoming correspondence and a separate folder of newspaper clippings.

A RARE LOUIS KAHN ARCHIVE RELATING TO ONE OF HIS MOST FAMOUS BUILDINGS

Kahn cut his teeth working for the New Deal Resettlement Administration during the 1930s designing new public housing. He helped build the Jersey Homesteads (now Roosevelt, N.J.) in 1937, and during World War II build thousands of apartment buildings for defense workers. His architectural sensibility coexisted with a strong political belief in collective action at the local level by workers and residents against both corporate and governmental abuse. In the postwar years, Kahn received many commissions from labor unions, such as this one, to create a new home for the A. F. of L. Medical Service Plan. These letters discuss the costs of the contractors working on the building, and touch on issues of design and materials: 8 March 1956: He explains that doors will be left out of the second floor corridors. "We do not want or need these doors and they were only included at the city department's insistence in the first place."

This building is regarded by Kahn scholars as one of his great achievements, combining his interests in "authenticity, monumentality" and "techno-organicism." Given his commitment to the labor union movement, Kahn envisioned it as a "palace" for workers. "In the AFL [building] Kahn sought to create a public building that, through both spatial and symbolic means, would remind users of their role as participants in the collectivity of their organization and in the larger public realm" (Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Louis Kahn's Situated Modernism, 80).

Kahn's work on this building came as his powers and prestige were reaching their summit. The late 1950s and 1960s saw him receiving commissions from all across America and the world. He built laboratories at the Salk Institute, the library at Phillips Exeter Academy, the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas and the national assembly building in Dahka, Bangladesh. The AFL medical Plan building was destroyed in 1973 to make way for the Vine Street Expressway, one year before Kahn died of a heart attack in the men's room of the Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

Artist or Maker

Notes

ANOTHER PROPERTY


Auction Details

Books & Manuscripts

by
Christie's
November 15, 2011, 12:00 AM EST

20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10020, US