Mikveh Israel and Louis Kahn: New Information


ABSTRACT: The commission that Congregation Mikveh Israel gave to the Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn in 1961 fi nally ended when he was fi red in January 1973, before ground could be broken on the new structure to have it ready for the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. Kahn’s design would have produced one of the great interior spaces of the twentieth century, but disagreement between the architect and the congregation over functional and spiritual aspects led to the eventual sad outcome. Based on newly discovered documents, this article clarifi es what is known about the end of the commission, explores the thinking of the congregation that led to Kahn’s dismissal, and reveals the steps that were taken to fi nd a replacement fi rm from a list of Philadelphia architects.