Avid Learning in association with the Kala Ghoda
Association, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, and Ministry
of Culture, Government of India
The Estonian-born American architect Louis Kahn believed that architecture should be timeless. Whether it’s the Salk Institute in California or the Phillips Exeter Academy Library in New Hampshire, his modernist architecture transcends time and speaks to universal human values. His architectural brilliance is visible in condensing the spirit of a place in its building. One such great example of monumental modernism is the National Parliament House of Bangladesh. More than a building, it is a symbol of democracy, a source of pride for its citizens.
Louis Kahn's Tiger City is a feature-length documentary bringing to screen the untold story of Kahn’s parliamentary complex for the first time. It is a testament to Kahn’s tenacity and commitment to realizing his design, capturing its journey from vision to completion amidst an economic crisis and the country’s war for liberation. Starring three-time Oscar-nominated actor Debra Winger; the only South Asian winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Late Balkrishna Doshi; and Louis Kahn’s son, filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn, the film examines what it means to be a true artist in a hyper-commercial world.
Experience the “raw emotional power and poetic beauty” at the screening of Louis Kahn's Tiger City, followed by an exciting conversation with the director.
Sundaram Tagore is a historian, gallerist, and award-winning filmmaker. He grew up between Calcutta, New Delhi, and the Himalayas, where he went to school. Tagore completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States and has a Doctorate in Philosophy in modern history from the University of Oxford. Tagore is a descendant of the Influential Indian poet and Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. His second film, Tiger City, Is a feature-length documentary on the world architect Louis I. Khan. Tagore has also organized and curated Frontiers Reimagined, a Collateral event of the 56th Venice Biennale, the exhibition brought together works by forty-four painters, sculptors, photographers, and installation artists from twenty-five countries exploring the notion of cultural boundaries, the show received media coverage from around the world and The Art Newspaper, named Frontiers Reimagined one of the five must-see exhibitions in Venice.Read more
Nandini Somaya Sampat is the Principal Architect of the Mumbai-based architectural practice SNK | Somaya & Kalappa Consultants. After practising as a corporate lawyer, Nandini pursued her passion for design and completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Interior Design from the Inchbald School of Design, London, followed by her Bachelor of Architecture from Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai. Nandini believes that architectural practitioners of today have the opportunity to become students of other verticals such as Ecology, Archaeology, History, and Arts. She has written widely on architecture, design, craft, public spaces, and research-driven process for several publications. In 2020, she was a speaker at TEDx SIU Lavale, Pune. Forbes India has featured her on ‘The Bold Club’-India’s top 30 architects in 2021. In 2022 she was on the AD100 list of Architect and Interior Designers in India.Read more
American architect Louis Kahn (1901–1974) is recognized as one of the
most significant architects of the 20th century. He was born in Estonia and
moved to America as a young child with his family. Massive geometric forms, the
use of natural light, and the use of materials like concrete and brick are
characteristics of Kahn's architectural style.
Among Kahn's significant buildings are the National Assembly Building
in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Salk
Institute for Biological Research in La Jolla, California. His structures
frequently combine modernist design ideas with traditional architectural
features like vaults and arches.
The term modern architecture or modernist architecture refers broadly
to the methods and styles that first appeared in the early 20th century and are
still in use today. It is distinguished by a focus on the use, simplicity, and
application of contemporary materials and technology.
In reaction to the quick changes in society brought on by
industrialization, urbanization, and technical advancements, modern
architecture emerged. It eschewed the ornamentation and decorative motifs of
the past in favor of a minimalist aesthetic, clear lines, and geometric shapes.
Louis Kahn was one of the greatest proponents of modern architecture. Some
other prominent names associated with it include Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van
der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Walter Gropius among others.
Louis Kahn and India
Louis Kahn had a strong connection with India. In the 1950s and 1960s,
Kahn made several trips to India, where he studied ancient architecture and met
with architects and scholars. One of his most significant projects was the
design of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, which he worked on
from 1962 to 1974. He was invited by the Late Balkrishna Doshi to design a
modern school. His interest in Indian architecture, particularly its use of
light and shadow, the blending of nature, and the development of courtyards and
public areas, is evident in the institute's design. IIM Ahmedabad has won
accolades for its attention to the Indian environment and use of traditional
architectural motifs and is regarded as one of Kahn's masterpieces.
National Assembly Building,
The Jatiya Sansad Bhaban is part of the parliament complex, located in
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar (Tiger City), Dhaka. Envisioned by Kahn in the 1960s, it
got completed in 1982, several years after his death.
The secretariat, the north and south blocks, and the plenary hall are
the three primary sections of the structure. It stands out for using geometry
and natural light to establish harmony and order. The structure also features
typical Bangladeshi architectural features like the usage of water and the
blending of interior and outdoor areas.
Considered to be Kahn’s magnum opus, it is a symbol of contemporary architecture. Standing tall is a reminder of his talent for designing structures that are both aesthetically striking and functional, as well as responsive to the local culture and environmental setting.