Goldenberg House / Louis I. Kahn

Montgomery County near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
USA, 1959

The confrontation between a chosen pre-existent form and functional requirements is expressed in a new manner. "Breaking out of" form as archaic form is the declared theme. Here, the discovery of the diagonal as a formal limit in the floor plan arrangement is essential. Along its diagonals an orthogonal structure receives incisions in its outer contour, developing around the centre, a square interior court with a corridor. The servant rooms with skylights are arranged concentrically around the centre, while living rooms and bedrooms are located on the periphery. Single-pitch roofs widen the outer rooms upward as well, so that Kahn plays with the opposites of expansion and fixation across the diagonals. This pair of forces, visible here for the first time, creates dynamic movement in the otherwise stiff building figures of this phase. From the interior, the diagonals are apparent only at the roof chamfers and the corner incisions, while the orthogonal wall order dominates the spatial feeling. The keyhole window of the Greensburg press building is now developed into a dominant facade figure in order to articulate the exterior wall surfaces as flat, room-high figures in a kind of positive/ negative game (wall/opening).

[texto. Klaus-Peter Gast en Louis I. Kahn, Edit. Birkhauser]