The Beginning of the Beginning: Kahn and Architectural Education in Philadelphia





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Paul Philippe Cret was one of Penn’s greatest teachers and one of the city’s greatest architects. Louis I. Kahn, the University’s most well–known teacher, was one of Cret’s students. Holmes Perkins, educated at Harvard under Walter Gropius, reshaped the School and changed its orientation. The key task of the three architects was to articulate a new understanding of what is specific to the discipline, recreating its professional and intellectual center and orientation. This would not require the replacement or elimination of what had been developed in the preceding years; instead the task was to augment it with a more focused sense of what architecture itself is all about.

How to Cite

Leatherbarrow, D. (2013). The Beginning of the Beginning: Kahn and Architectural Education in Philadelphia. Docomomo Journal, (49), 58–63.




Author Biography

David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania

Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Graduate Group in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia, where he has taught since 1984. He received his B.Arch. from the University of Kentucky and holds a Ph.D. in Art from the University of Essex. He has also taught in England, at Cambridge University and the University of Westminster (formerly the Polytechnic of Central London). He is primarily known for his contributions to the field of architectural phenomenology. Questions of how architecture appears, how architecture is perceived, and how topography shapes architecture often direct his research.