WHEN the virologist Jonas Salk talked to Louis Kahn about what he wanted for his new research institute he told the architect that he wanted to invite Picasso to the laboratories.

Kahn’s response was to create two continuous wings each with five pavilions all joined together by a vast central plaza complemented by a narrow waterway that runs down the middle towards the Pacific Ocean. A work of art in concrete and running water.

Kahn, who died of a heart attack in the bathroom of Penn Station in Manhattan in 1974 was one of the great architects of the 20th century. “Architecture,” he once said, “is the thoughtful making of spaces.”

In a new book, The Essential Louis Kahn, the photographer Cemal Emden tries to capture Kahn’s monumental thoughts, travelling from the States to Bangladesh where Kahn’s Sher-E-Banla Nagar in Dhaka is one of the most astonishing government buildings in the world.

When Kahn was discovered in that bathroom there were drawings for the Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park found in his briefcase. The park finally opened to the public in 2012.

The Essential Louis Kahn, Photographs Cemal Emden, is published by Prestel, £39.99 Photograph © Cemal Emden 2021