Louis Kahn was born in Estonia on the island of Saaremaa. He was five years old when the family moved to the United States, however spiritually, he remained connected to the Nordic region for the rest of his life. During his first return trip to Europe in 1928, he visited Estonia, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In a later trip of 1966, he lectured in all four Nordic countries reconnecting with friends and colleagues, but unfortunately he was unable to include Estonia.
This spring, the Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will place a historical marker at Louis Kahn’s birthplace in Kuressaare. Along with the opening of the marker, the seminar for professionals on the Nordic architecture, will take place.
Details and exact schedule of events are still being worked out.
Louis Kahn 120 Celebration
In 2021, Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation (LKEF) celebrated the 120th anniversary of one the greatest architects of all times with events, both physical and online, across the world, including Kahn’s native island Saaremaa.
20 Feb 2021: Louis Kahn 120 with Harriet Pattison, Nathaniel Kahn and William Whitaker. Organized by Consulate General of Estonia in New York in partnership with Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation, and presented by Scandinavia House in New York in partnership with Yale University Press. If you missed it, view it here.
10 June 2021: London Festival of Architecture ‘Louis Kahn 120 – The Islander’, online event with Per Olaf Fjeld (Norway), Heie Treier (Estonia), Elain Harwood (United Kingdom) and Owen Hopkins (United Kingdom). The event explored how Kahn’s work continued to shape the understanding of timeless modernism today and Kahn’s little-known Nordic ties: early childhood in Estonia, his travels and how his early experiences in Estonia would have shaped his architectural sensibility. The event can be viewed here.
In September 2021: workshops in cooperation with TTK University of Applied Sciences (TTK UAS) and TalTech. In the workshops, an analysis and volumetric visualization of the three possible locations of the Kahn Centre were prepared.
11 Sept / 12 Sept 2021: Läänesaarte Kammerorkester performed with concerts dedicated to Kahn at Kuressaare Gymnasium and Tallinn House of Blackheads). Music by Q. Porter, S. Grill, P. Glass and M. Wolpert Edoardo Narbona, conductor (ITA) Brett Douglas Deubner, viola (USA)
15 Oct 2021: Kahn 120 celebration in Kuressaare with special guests Per Olaf Fjeld (NOR) and Abelardo Morell (USA). Per Olaf Fjeld’ s and Abelardo Morell’s presentations in Kuressaare Town Hall. If you missed it, view it here.
15 Oct 2021: Opening of Morell’s photo exhibition dedicated to Kahn at 17.00 in Kuressaare Town Hall Gallery. The exhibition was open until November 25.
16 Oct 2021: Hommage à Louis Kahn, Four Freedoms Park (FFP), New York, USA . The event included the concert and a premiere of the new piece MO(NU)MENT dedicated to Kahn by Saaremaa-born composer and saxophone player Maria Faust + Guest Artists (Peter Evans on trumpet; Sam Kulik on trombone; Dan Peck on tuba).
“Meet the author” – a conversation with Charles E. Dagit, hosted by Neeme Raud. This conversation was dedicated to the commemorative book “Louis I. Kahn―Architect” published in Estonian. The event can be viewed here.
Arne Maasik’s and Rein Vainküla’s architectural photographs of Kahn-related places and the period that was overshadowed by the Iron Curtain. Screening of the short documentary “A Walk On Louis Kahn’s Native Island”.
9 Nov 2021: Well-known architectural historian Christofer Herrmann talked about “Kahn’s Castle” on November 9, 2021. If you missed it, view it here.
Other activities of the LKEF include:
– Publication of C. E. Dagit Jr.’s memoirs “Louis I. Kahn―Architect: Remembering the Man and Those Who Surrounded Him” in Estonian.
– Launch of the International architectural competition of the Louis Kahn Center in Kuressaare.