Alternative Histories: Noreile Breen on Louis Kahn

Noreile Breen, Louis Kahn’s plan for an office building, 2018. Paper and 22-carat gold, 220 × 170 × 280 mm.
Louis Kahn (1901–1974), plan, Office Building, Kansas City. Print with orange crayon, 455 × 610 mm. DMC 2359.20.

Kahn’s drawing is composed of solid and dotted hard pencil lines with red hatching on coloured paper; conventions representing elements above, below and through a cut line. Parallel lines and breaks between lines give an indication of scale. Curious, massive, triangular, hollow and inaccessible forms meet broken lines in a variety of configurations. Their relationship is taut, exact and spin in a dance with one another around the edge. The triangle even changes its size. If the drawing were a building, what might it be made of? I study the drawing by making drawings of it, sketching the plan’s three-dimensional potential. Then I make a number of sketch models. I have made a little 22 carat gold tabernacle which celebrates and explores the range of extruded possibilities where depths, shadows and reflections are exaggerated in a golden supernova spectrum.

– Noreile Breen