My Architect In 1974, the modernist architect Louis I. Kahn died alone and bankrupt in New York City's Pennsylvania Station, leaving behind myriad unfinished projects — and…
DVD Review

My Architect (2005)

Details Release Date: Feb 15, 2005; DVD Release Date: Feb 15, 2005; Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Documentary; With: Nathaniel Kahn; Distributor: New Yorker

In 1974, the modernist architect Louis I. Kahn died alone and bankrupt in New York City's Pennsylvania Station, leaving behind myriad unfinished projects — and a highly curious, illegitimate 11-year-old son. Now a highly curious adult, Nathaniel Kahn has deftly drawn a poignant blueprint of his father's life and works, accentuating archival footage with modern-day interviews (I.M. Pei and Frank Gehry are among the talking architectural heads). Alternately moved and angered by his father's history (Nathaniel and his two half-sisters — each a child from a different mother — grew up relatively near one another, but didn't meet until Louis' funeral), the budding documentarian ultimately erects a deeply personal monument to an enigmatic man who could tenderly illustrate a ''Book of Crazy Boats'' for his toddler son, then abandon him for months to design masterpieces like the Salk Institute in Southern California and the massive Bangladeshi Capital Complex in Dhaka.

EXTRAS A tantalizing, if frustratingly brief, post-screening Q&A session between the film-maker and the audience includes rare footage of Kahn discussing his craft.

Originally posted Feb 21, 2005 Published in issue #808 Feb 25, 2005 Order article reprints