“I recall the beginning as Belief” – this slightly mysterious sentence uttered by Kahn in 1961 is the motto of Louis I. Kahn (1962) by Vincent Scully Jr.

Pöide Church on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia
Photograph by Arne Maasik 2015

Starting and the beginning are part of Kahn’s rhetoric, his “language”. This can be interpreted in many ways. At the abstract-historical level, the beginning of architecture can be dated from the Egyptian pyramids and the architectural legacy of Europe’s earliest cultures, which Kahn studied and drew and painted during his travels. At the concrete level (the start of building design), Kahn proceeded from his own methods and way of thinking. At a personal level, becoming an architect was apparently a complicated and multistage process of constant analysis and synthesis, assisted by the image bank that constantly enriched his visual memory.

Kahn. The Islander. Text by Heie Treier. Photographs by Arne Maasik.
Tallinn 2016. Publisher Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation.