Featured Group Activity: Louis Kahn in Bellevue

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You’re in a new city. It’s taken you two connecting flights, one underwhelming airport lunch, a 30-minute chat with your Uber driver, and a downtown stroll in the wrong direction before you found your hotel, but you’ve finally arrived. You’ve spotted the local convention center on your way over, so you know where your meetings will be held the following day. You breathe a sigh of relief. Now the only question is, “What will you do with yourself for the rest of the evening?”

Louis Kahn 6If your business travels are bringing you to Bellevue this winter or spring, then you’re in luck! There’s an attraction right in the heart of downtown that you won’t want to miss. The Mona Lisa of modern architecture exhibitions will be on display at the Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM), from January 29 to May 1, 2016.

This prestigious exhibit, otherwise known as Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, was originally presented by the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Its arrival in Bellevue will mark the first leg of an international tour, as well as the first major retrospective of the well-regarded American architect in twenty years.

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So who is this, Kahn, and what did he really do? And no, we don’t mean Genghis Khan, the ruler of the Mongol Empire back in the thirteenth century, the evil villain from Star Trek, or the guy who started Khan Academy. We mean Louis Kahn, one of the greatest master builders of the twentieth century. He may not be a household name yet, but considering the high esteem with which his contemporaries regarded him, and the recent surge in interest in his work from the greater architecture and design community, we suspect he soon will be.

Louis Kahn 5Kahn was born in 1901 and emigrated with his family to the United States as a child. After studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania he opened his own firm in 1935 and began teaching architecture at Yale University in 1947. He continued to be an influential designer and teacher until his death in 1974, at which time he was considered “America’s foremost living architect.”

Kahn used heavy materials and copious natural lighting to create simple yet monumental designs. Some of his most notable works include the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas, the Salk Institute in California, and the National Assembly Building in Bangladesh.

Louis Kahn 4A walk through the exhibition will be inspiring for architecture aficionados as it will for those first becoming acquainted with Kahn. In addition, be sure to check the Bellevue Arts Museum calendar for special events surrounding the exhibition. For example, you might catch the opening night on January 29 for a special screening of My Architect, a touching Oscar-nominated documentary on Kahn’s life. After watching the film you might participate in the Q&A with film writer and director, Nathaniel Kahn, Louis Kahn’s son.

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Or for a more casual visit you might peruse the exhibits with your colleagues before stopping in at the Museum Store for a surprise gift or two for someone at home, and finish the evening over wine and cocktails at a comfortable nearby establishment like Purple Cafe & Wine Bar or Black Bottle Postern.

So tie up that free evening here in Bellevue with a cultural experience that will send you back home with newly acquired knowledge, an armful of unique gifts for the loved ones at home, and a craving for more. There’s distinctive art and architecture just waiting to be discovered in Bellevue. Why not get a closer look?

Meeting planner note: Bellevue Arts Museum offers three diverse event spaces, a location in the vibrant heart of downtown Bellevue, and a backdrop of breathtaking architecture and engaging exhibits, Bellevue Arts Museum is a venue unlike any other and the ideal scene for a truly unforgettable occasion. BAM is the perfect place for your attendees to take in an exhibition with a docent lead tour or attend a reception or event. http://www.bellevuearts.org/private_events/index.html

Images courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum and Heavy Restaurant Group.

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