Starting with the particularities of the postwar American architecture, this paper aims to discuss Kahn's recoding of what might be called the culture of building, for example, themes internal to the formation of the disciplinary history of architecture. Additional attention is given to Kahn's discourse on monumentality pronounced in 1944. Emphasis is also placed on Kahn's concern with structure and ornament, but also the tectonic. The paper then presents an historical analysis of Kahn's design for the Philadelphia City Tower and the Yale University Art Gallery, arguing that in spite of, or rather because of postmodern conditions, the project of modernity should be considered neither as a perfect past, nor a phenomenon that is working towards its completion. Modernity should rather be considered a project whose periodic crisis is endemic to architects’ ongoing recoding of the culture of building.