In 1932 Louis I. Kahn designed a startling memorial to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: two luminous red glass skyscrapers that would have loomed above the harbor of Leningrad, blazing at night as a harbinger of revolution. Yet the Soviet authorities were not impressed, and in years to come Kahn expunged the politically embarrassing project from his réésuméé, successfully concealing it from scholars until long after his death in 1974.1 Recently a photograph of his lost competition entry, known heretofore from verbal descriptions, appeared at auction (Figure 1).2 It is a startlingly imaginative performance, Kahn's first purposeful attempt to reconcile contemporary modernism with the Beaux-Arts system that had formed him. He would not make such an attempt again for thirty years, and when he did, he would return to the solution attempted here and in surprising ways.

The Lenin...

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