Resolute in his principle that each space should be crafted to support a single activity, Kahn designed the unrealized Mikveh Israel Synagogue with three separate volumes: for study, prayer, and community. These are surrounded by tall, cylindrical "window rooms," about twenty feet in diameter, that provide seating space and diffuse daylight entering the building. This charcoal drawing of the exterior shows the stark concrete volumes of these rooms, which recall the towers of a medieval walled city. In his endeavor to create monumental and timeless architecture, Kahn drew inspiration from the castles, city walls, and Roman arches he saw on his European travels.
Gallery label from 75 Years of Architecture at MoMA, 2007.