The opening of the historical marker dedicated to Louis Kahn.

The opening event of the historical marker will take place near the north bastion bridge of the Kuressaare castle park at 13 on May 5, 2022. Handmade and sand cast aluminium plaque has been made in Sewah Studios, America’s leading manufacturer of historical markers. The original design comes from Kahn’s teacher, architect Paul Philippe Cret, and includes some features of the today’s blue and gold aluminium plaques. Consistently lasting more than 100 years, the program goes beyond the borders of the United States for the first time in history.

The Historical Marker Program of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (= PHMC) has been consistently running since 1914, being one of the oldest in the United States. The unique cooperation began in April, 2021 when the LKEF contacted the PHMC with a proposal to install the same historical marker in Kuressaare as on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, near the location of Kahn’s architectural office.

Pennsylvania delegates who will attend the opening ceremony in Saaremaa are Nancy Moses (Chair of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission) and William V. Lewis (Commissioner of the PHMC).  Both Moses and Lewis have written several books on history. In her book series on cultural treasures and the provocative legal, ethical, social, and political issues they raise, Moses would like to add a story about Estonia. It is planned to collect the material of the story during the visit. William V. Lewis is the author of many books on the history of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The PHMC background deserves special mention. Pennsylvania is one of the most important custodians of U.S. statehood, given that the state is best known as the American stronghold of freedom and the site where the Founding Fathers signed the United States Declaration of Independence. 

Acclaimed architect and Kahn student Per Olaf Fjeld (Norway) and the author and renowned architect Michael Merrill (Germany/the USA) will take part in the event and give a presentation. In cooperation with ETH Zurich, the Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) the exhibition “Silence and Light” will open in Kuressaare Cultural Centre and it remains open until the end of May. The festive day ends with the concert “Men and the Sea” (Ain Anger, Mihkel Poll, Estonian National Male Choir) in the Laurentiuse Church.

The LKEF wishes to thank Sewah staff that worked on this marker: the typesetter Amber Glidden, CJ Boley and Austin Douthitt in the foundry, Curtis Wheeler in the finish department, David Eddy who powder coated and the gilder Angy Cain. Many thanks to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: Andrea Lowery,  Executive Director; Scott Doyle, Preservation Incentives Division Manager and our guests of honour Nancy Moses and William V. Lewis.

Mr Brian Roraff, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Estonia, adds solemnity, highlighting another significant event this year: “Louis Kahn, a son of both Estonia and the United States, is one of the many special cultural connections our two countries share. As the U.S. and Estonia celebrate the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, I am especially excited to see his life and work commemorated with a historical marker in Kuressaare in this important year.”

The historical marker in Kuressaare will be erected in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Municipality of Saaremaa and the Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation.

Supported by the ETH Zurich, the Norwegian Embassy, Municipality of Saaremaa, the US Embassy in Estonia, TalTech, Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.