The Visual Conceptualization
of the Message

Bishop’s Castle (14th century) in Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia
Photograph by Arne Maasik 2008

The exhibition and the book KAHN. The Islander (2016) includes a selection of authentic photos by Arne Maasik that, other than the one of the façade of the bishop’s castle, have not undergone any editing. Historian and graphic designer Mart Kivisild conceptually restored the appearance of the castle’s façade to what it might have looked like in the early 20th century, or before the “renovations” were carried out in the 1970s. He used authentic archival photos from the early 20th century as the basis for comparison.

Thus, on this photo the crenellation has been removed from the upper portion of the wall. The Tall Herman tower has been freed of its crenellated collar. The shape of Tall Herman’s spire at the beginning of the 20th century has been restored. The pseudo-medieval drawbridge system has been removed from the castle’s façade. The flagpole in front of the castle has also been taken away.

After the foreign bodies were removed, the castle itself came to the fore, as it probably was when a 3-year-old boy saw it in 1904. Considering the boy’s height, it may have seemed several times more impressive and larger than it really was. Although the castle was the same in 1928, Kahn, who says he visited Kuressaare at that time, had changed – one can guess that the young architect looked at the castle with a much more analytical gaze.

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