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My Architect: A Son's Journey (2003)My Architect: A Son's Journey (2003)

Talk about parallel universes. When Louis Kahn dropped dead of a heart attack in the men's room of New York City's Penn Station, he was one of the world's foremost and most famous architects. He was also one of the most secretive. His body lay in the city morgue for three days because he had scratched out his name on his passport, he was bankrupt, and he left behind not one but three families. The front-page obituary in the New York Times read that Kahn had one daughter, Sue Ann, by his legal wife Ester. Left unmentioned were a daughter Alexandra by Anne Tyng, and a son Nathaniel by Harriet Pattison. Nathaniel was only eleven years old when his father died, and twenty-five years later he sets out to try to find out just who his father was. This documentary follows him as he interviews architects, professors, taxi drivers, his two half-sisters, a rabbi, and even his own mother. The film is too long, and wavers between a consideration of Kahn himself, both his mysterious life and his architectural legacy, and also the emotional confusion and pain that Nathaniel tries to address. A genuine sadness hangs over this film that reminded me of something a Stanford professor and friend once said: behind every great man there is often a trail of human wreckage.

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