Kahn’s Evolution of Beauty: A Changing Definition of Form in Modern Architecture February 19, Kahn says in “Order Is” that “[f]rom order he will derive creative force and power of self-criticism to give form to this unfamiliar. Beauty will evolve” (Conrad, 1971, p. 170). Kahn uses his philosophy of beauty in his Parliament Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh by merging modernist ideals with contextualization of form, where, on the one hand, his definition of form is similar to Mies’ and Corbu’s ideas of form that is a product of the spirit of architecture, and, on the other hand, it is different from the latter’s because Kahn signifies the symbolic meaning of the Parliament Building to Bangladesh’s history and identity.
Kahn’s Parliament Building combines modernist ideas of form and historical contextualization. This building reflects the works of Mies and Corbu because it also has a modernist drive through its minimalist approach to form that hails from the basic living purposes of the building. The Parliament Building’s modernist form uses creative force that integrates the utility of materials and design to create a unified form of geometric shapes that balance beauty and functionality.
However, unlike Mies’s and Corbu’s works that have pure utilitarian goals and effects, Kahn’s Parliament Building is hinged on its historical and environmental circumstances. Its geometric configuration can be seen as a result of the power of self-criticism because the building represents the independence of Bangladesh. Its form follows the form of Bangladeshi identity. Moreover, beauty evolves from its context. The columns of the Parliament Building, for instance, create interesting spatial and lighting effects that seem to narrate a story of freedom and autonomy.
Beauty evolves from the history of the people that makes the Parliament Building a modernist building with a nationalistic spirit. Kahn shows the development of modernist architecture through adapting local materials and stories in the shaping the spirit that drives the form of his buildings. ReferenceConrad, U. (1971). Programs and manifestoes on 20th-century architecture. Massachusetts: MI Press.