Harriet Pattison (1928-2023)


Harriet Pattison (1928-2023)

Fred A. Bernstein   /  Source:  The New York Times

Foto: Barrett Doherty/The Cultural Landscape Foundation

Harriet Pattison, a noted landscape architect whose projects included the grounds of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt on Roosevelt Island in New York City, both of them collaborations with the architect Louis Kahn, with whom she had a son, died on Monday at her home in Newtown Square, Pa. She was 94.

The death was announced by the son, the filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn, her sole survivor.

Ms. Pattison’s biggest contribution to landscape architecture may be her work on the Kimbell site. In a 2015 oral history interview with Charles Birnbaum, the president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, she said it had been her idea to add a slope to the site so that the building looked like “it really belonged there, and it wasn’t sitting on a plinth, which had been Lou’s approach.” She also adjusted a water feature there so that instead of it being a “big, sort of dull reflecting pool,” water spilled from one pool to another.

“The sound of it was to be a part of the whole poetry of the building,” she said.

“I brought a sense of nature, and of the site, to Lou’s work,” Ms. Pattison said in My Architect, a 2003 documentary film by Nathaniel Kahn about his father.

The title Our Days Are Like Full Years. A Memoir with Letters from Louis Kahn, by Harriet Pattison, was reviewed by Luis Fernández-Galiano in Arquitectura Viva 229 (2020), under the title Intimidad epistolar.

Cultural Landscape Foundation: Harriet Pattison

The New York Times. Harriet Pattison, 94, Dies; Landscape Architect With a Tie to Louis Kahn

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