Kimbell Art Museum
Kimbell art museum at fort worth, texas, is considered the crown jewel of Louis Kahn. The brief demanded for a modern building where natural light should play a vital role and the form to be a work of art of modest scale – not overwhelming the viewer and the artwork.
The museum is composed of 16 parallel vaults that are each 100 feet (30.5 m) long, 20 feet (6 m) high and 23 feet (7 m) wide (internal measurements). The vaults are grouped into three wings. The north and south wings each have six vaults, with the western one open as a portico. The central space has four vaults, with the western one open as an entry porch facing a courtyard partially enclosed by the two outside wings.
Most of the art galleries are located on the upper floor of the museum to allow access to natural light. Service and curatorial spaces as well as an additional gallery occupy the ground floor. Each interior vault has a slot along its apex to allow natural light into the galleries. Air ducts and other mechanical services are located in the spaces where the edges of the vaults almost meet.
The main feature of the Kimbell art museum is the lighting. The interior is superbly lighted, thanks to the shape of the barrel vault, focusing the light as if it is a torchlight. Louis Kahn had this done very well indeed, as light is the main factor in designing an art gallery or museum. A reflecting screen made of perforated anodized aluminum with a specific curve was used to distribute natural light evenly across the cycloid curve of the ceiling. In areas without art, such as the entry hall, cafeteria and library, the entire reflector is perforated, making it possible for people standing beneath to glimpse passing clouds. In the gallery spaces, the central part of the reflector, which is directly beneath the sun, is solid, while the remainder is perforated. The concrete surfaces of the ceiling were...