With the Help of Nature: Kahn, the Wood House and the Culture of Stewardship





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Louis I. Kahn's attitude toward materials was expressed in his documented preference to allow exterior wood siding to be left unfinished and weather to a silver grey. Influenced by vernacular architecture of the American rural landscape, this natural treatment has proved a challenge for stewards, as exposure to the elements is gradually destructive. Like many works of the Modern Movement that retain their original siding, Kahn’s wood-clad structures stand at a critical crossroads where the architect’s intent and retention of fabric converge. A selected group of Kahn’s residential works are examined with respect to the architect’s employment of wood, the inherent conditions of each and the conservation efforts that are evolving in response.

How to Cite

Fearon, A. (2018). With the Help of Nature: Kahn, the Wood House and the Culture of Stewardship. Docomomo Journal, (58), 40–49. https://doi.org/10.52200/58.A.AQIJA0OI




Author Biography

Andrew Fearon, University of Pennsylvania

(b. United States, 1974). MSc, University of Pennsylvania. ICCROM- Wood Conservation Technology, NTNU, Oslo. Andrew Fearon serves as Chief Architectural Conservator for the Philadelphia based firm Materials Conservation and is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Professional Associate and Chair of the Architecture Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation and board member of both Association for Preservation Technology — Delaware Valley Chapter and docomomo-Philadelphia Chapter. He is the Vice-President — Director of Advocacy for the ICOMOS Scientific Committee for Wood (IIWC).


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