Join us as we travel to Kuressaare in Saaremaa, Estonia for a virtual tour of the castle that impacted the work of the architect Louis Kahn.
Louis Kahn’s interest in castles is well-known. During a tour of Europe in 1928, the architect preferred to explore the walled city of Carcassonne and the castles of Scotland. The influence of castles on his work can be seen in many of his projects, from the Four Freedoms Park in New York and the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, to Erdman Hall in Bryn Mawr College and Fisher House in Hatboro, PA.
The first castle that may have impacted Kahn, however, is the Kuresaare Castle in Saaremaa, Estonia. It was in its courtyard where Louis Kahn first began to dream of becoming an architect as a little boy.
Anne Tyng, an architect who collaborated with Kahn for 29 years, points out the impact of the monumental castle on Louis Kahn the child’s psyche: “The castle must have been etched in the memory of a boy of five, with its impressive scale dominating the small town almost entirely of one- and two-story buildings.” As Kahn himself used to say: “I was born on an island with a castle on it.”
Celebrated architectural historian Christofer Herrmann takes us on a tour of Kahn’s castle. His latest researche have revealed the origin of the builder of Kahn’s Castle. Who was this master builder, the Domenico da Cortona of the north, who influenced the entire region once ruled by the Teutonic Order, as well as Kahn?
Christofer Herrmann, Architectural Historian