FILM RATING: 4 stars
After writing about Masterclass, I just had to create a post dedicated to the great film My Architect (2003). I watched this movie on DVD probably 5 years ago. Obviously I am very biased towards movies about architecture being an architect. But I would still argue that anyone can love this movie, even though it’s officially a “documentary”, because it’s really a very emotional tale about the love a son has for his father. Director Nathaniel Kahn, son of famous architect Louis Kahn whom this movie is a biography about, crafted an unbelievably vibrant, poetic and poignant film about his deceased father and his work. Nathaniel’s intention was to gain an understanding and appreciation of his father. He didn’t really know his father when he was alive. He was just 11 years old when he died, and because Nathaniel was an “illegitimate” son, Louis didn’t live with him and his mother, preferring to stay with his wife.
Louis Kahn was an architect like Terrence Malick is a Film Director: a perfectionist whose work can be counted on your hands. Louis Kahn is not known for producing hundreds or thousands of buildings like his contemporaries Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Philip Johnson. Instead, he crafted just a couple handfuls of masterpiece buildings over his lengthy career. And none of his work is missed in this wonderful journey through his life and architecture. Having studied Kahn’s work in architecture school, you would have thought that I would have already fully appreciated Louis Kahn as a master architect. But to be honest, while I liked Kahn’s work prior to seeing this film, it’s solely because of this film that I now regard Louis Kahn as one of my favorite architects of all time, if not #1. I had never seen any of Kahn’s buildings in person, but the filming of them in this movie along with the emotional storytelling from his son simply gave me the appreciation for Kahn and his work like nothing had before. And upon seeing Kahn’s Salk Institute Buildings in La Jolla, California in person last year, I was blown away at the beauty, serenity and minimalism of his design. The attention to detail, craftsmanship, and shear thought that went into his buildings is amazing. I have yet to put my video and photographs from the visit into my own film, but it will come together eventually.
Below are just a few of my photos of Kahn’s Salk Institute…enjoy their incredible beauty!