Rare Architect Interview Now Online

Former University of Kansas Dean Charles Kahn, FAIA shares his extensive audio collection, including Buckminster Fuller, George Matsumoto and Henry Kamphoefner.

Charles Kahn, FAIA, who conducted the rare interviews.

June 9, 2010 (DURHAM, NC) — The Charles Kahn Audio Interviews with noted architects from around the world, including Buckminster Fuller and Henry Kamphoefner, are now online through Triangle Modernist Houses.com (TMH), a North Carolina website which documents, preserves, and promotes Modernist residential design.

Charles Kahn, FAIA, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate and former Professor of Architecture at North Carolina State University’s College of Design, became the first Dean of the then-new School of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Kansas in 1968. He personally recorded his collection of rare interviews during the 1970s.

“We are exceptionally grateful to Dean Kahn for making these audio interviews available to TMH and to the public,” said George Smart, founder and director of Triangle Modernist Houses. Available at http://trianglemodernisthouses.com/videos.htm, they include interviews with George Matsumoto, Buckminster Fuller, T.C. Howard, Duncan Stuart, NC State University’s first dean of the School of Design Henry Kamphoefner, James Fitzgibbon, Antonio Nervi, Sasha Nowicki, Myron Goldsmith, and many more.

Personal anecdotes and opinions pepper the interviews. In the Kamphoefner recording, for example, the dean tells of “sort of blundering into” French master architect Le Corbusier’s offices in Paris.  Le Corbusier “wouldn’t talk to me because I couldn’t speak French. It was a completely meaningless experience.” He also speaks of wanting “to try to revise the teaching of architecture into something that was a good deal more meaningful [than the American Beaux Arts].”

In the George Matsumoto recording, the architect who designed many Triangle mid-century modernist houses praises Dorton Arena’s designer Matthew Nowicki, a fellow faculty member from 1948-1950, and tells interviewer Kahn that Nowicki “had a fantastic sense of feel for structure…and he used this as a kind of big envelope to pull all the little details together.”

The TMH website also features a host of other video and audio recordings of interest to modernist architecture enthusiasts and researchers, including Frank Harmon’s Harwell Hamilton Harris lecture at NCSU, and Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus discussing their home, Cassilhaus, featured in the New York Times.

For more information on Triangle Modernist Houses, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com.

For more information on Dean Charles Kahn, visit www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/kahn.htm.

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