Modernist Architecture Captured

Two giants of modernist architecture have their works captured in noteworthy books.

Louis Kahn Dhaka is an obscure two volume set from independent Swiss publisher Dino Simonett. Awarded Jury Prize at the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2004, the book features original shots by Vogue photographer Raymond Meier. Academy Award nominee Nathaniel Kahn serves as an editor and contributing writer.

On the waterlogged plains of Bangladesh, between the spindly fingers of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, lies one of the twentieth century’s greatest and yet most often overlooked architectural projects, the capital complex at Dhaka. Designed by architect Louis Kahn, the radiating buildings of Sher-e Banglanager revolve around a central concrete body that, from certain angles, appears to float on water. “Ancient and modern all at once,” it is a work reinforced by its contradictions and surprises.

LOUIS KAHN DHAKA depicts the building’s extraordinary history and presence in two volumes. The first book, a collection of restored archival duotones, reveals the design process and the extensive collaboration that went into the construction. That a Jewish American architect designed the capital complex of a Muslim state seems particularly significant today.

In the second book, Raymond Meier applies his expertise and vision as a fashion and still-life photographer to capture the dialogue between the architecture, the people, and the surrounding landscape in vivid color. Finding hidden instances when light becomes space and space becomes light, Meier treats architecture like an enormous still life and brings a clean and modern perspective to Kahn’s work.


Richard Meier, whose Jubilee Church design was noted on earlier this year [Jubilee Church Visualized], is subject of Taschen’s latest XL sized opus, Richard Meier & Partners: Complete Works 1963 – 2008. Richard Meier will be present tonight to sign copies at the Taschen Store New York between 6pm – 8pm.

From the early days as a member of the New York Five, Richard Meier has been a central figure in contemporary architecture in the United States. With the Getty Center and more recent buildings such as the Jubilee Church in Rome, the New Yorker has cemented his reputation as a truly international figure who has expanded the horizons of contemporary American architecture while maintaining his rigorous approach to design and detailing. Known for carefully conceived grid plans and frequent use of white, Richard Meier is a master of light and space, able to adapt his style to very different circumstances and locations.

The entire span of Meier’s career, right up to his most recent designs for New York and Shenzhen, is included in this exceptional volume, created in close collaboration between the architect, the author, and the eminent graphic designer Massimo Vignelli. This spectacular monograph displays Meier’s work in unprecedented size and brilliance, and features a preface by the noted Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza.

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