When I first returned from my fellowship I spent several months trying to come to terms with my experiences abroad. I struggled, with absolutely no success, to document rationally in words what I was having even more difficulty resolving at an emotional level. In what then was still the Soviet Union my heart was deeply touched and my perception of architecture greatly altered. The disintegration of State control and the rise of regional nationalism that was being played out against the backdrop of the public plazas and government buildings affected not only my understanding of our art but much more importantly of myself. I was forced to confront for the first time a conflict between my personal idiosyncrasies as a designer and my obligations as a designer. Ideas that had previously seemed rational, clear and absolutely appropriate began to seem quite different. My personal evolution as a designer would have be completely non-linear. After a few months entrenched within myself I moved to Tokyo to work under the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. I have been here for almost 5 years now and I still have a great deal to learn.
- Kurt Baumgartner
From a letter dated 25 May 1996