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Modern legacy


And so to the preview of A Son's Journey, the excellent film directed by Nathaniel Kahn, the child of one of Louis Kahn's long-term extramarital affairs. Aside from its hugely evocative representation's of Kahn's buildings, and perceptive portrait of Kahn's persona and highly unorthodox private life, the film includes interviews with, among others, Philip Johnson, Vincent Scully, I M Pei, Frank Gehry, Moshe Safdie and Robert A M Stern, giving a fascinating insight into a generation of legendary Modern architects. Johnson's assertion that 'Lou'was the most loved of the 'greats' is only marginally undermined by the proviso that 'Frank Lloyd Wright was too cantankerous to love.Mies van der Rohe, you couldn't talk to him at all. And Corbusier was mean'. But the star turn is undoubtedly the former Philadelphia city planner Ed Bacon.

Often described as Kahn's nemesis, Bacon quickly reached the conclusion that Kahn's 'special genius' could not be applied to 'the particularities of a problem' and that 'there's not a single shred of any way in which Louis Kahn influenced downtown Philadelphia', adding: 'It would have been tragedy if any of his ideas had worked. They were all brutal, totally insensitive, totally impractical.'

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