Roberto Einaudi: Learning from Louis I. Kahn

a colorful pencil drawing of a person seated at a table, drawing

Louis I. Kahn working in his studio late at night. Drawing by Roberto Einaudi (1959).

Cornell in Rome Fall 2018 Lecture Series

Roberto Einaudi graduated with a B.Arch. from Cornell University in 1961, and an M.Arch. from MIT in 1962. He worked in the office of Louis I. Kahn in 1957 and 1959. From 1962–86 he practiced as an architect in Africa, the Middle and Far East, the U.S., and Europe, specializing in the design of schools, hospitals, universities, and new cities. In 1986 he cofounded AAP's Cornell in Rome program, which he directed until 1992. In Italy, his architectural office, Studio Einaudi, specializes in museums (Capitoline Museum, Museo dei Gessi at La Sapienza in Rome, archaeological museums in Grosseto, Sassoferrato, Anagni), in the restoration of historical buildings (the American Academy in Rome's Villa Aurelia, and St. Paul's Within the Walls) and urban sites (Venice historical center, Roman Imperial Fora project, ancient Roman theater in Naples, and modern athletic facilities with underground parking in an archaeologically significant area of Naples).

Einaudi contributed to La lezione di Pier Luigi Nervi published by Bruno Mondadori in 2010; to the critical re-edition of Aesthetics and Technology in Building by Nervi, to be published by University of Illinois Press in 2018; is editing, updating, and translating into English the fundamental text Roma Moderna by Italo Insolera to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2018; and contributed to Pier Luigi Nervi/Louis I. Kahn. Estetica dell'ingegneria e Monumentalità architettonica by Micaela Antonucci. He is actively writing and drawing about dreams, nature, family history, the Etruscans, the poet John Keats, and the writer Virginia Woolf.


While an architectural student at Cornell, Roberto Einaudi worked in different architectural offices during the summer breaks. In 1957 he worked with Louis I. Kahn, introduced to him by Romaldo Giurgola, who taught at Cornell several years before. Einaudi had a great experience that first year, so, after working the next summer in Italy, he repeated the experience in 1959. Kahn was a wonderful person to work with, not only because his work was so fascinating, but because he would involve one in the decision making and take time off to talk to you. He was a teacher at heart, and the working day would regularly end at midnight, after fascinating conversations and an occasional break to go bowling. Kahn had been the architect in residence at the American Academy in Rome in 1950–51, during which time he explored the materials and forms of classical architecture, transforming these timeless items into his own modern architecture.