Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kahn, Rudolph, Bunshaft @ yale

tomorrow morning, Merkin Muffley are I heading to new haven for the day with our 20th century architecture class to see two Louis Kahn buildings, a Paul Rudolph building, and a Gordon Bunshaft building. i'm eager to hear what my professor has to say about each of these buildings-he is an architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News with an infectious passion for architecture and a degree from Harvard GSD.

i'll let you know which of these buildings ends up being my favorite: if i had to guess right now i'd probably go with Kahn's Center for British Art (#2 below). while the Bunshaft building (#4) design looks magnificent and other wordly, i'm a sucker for good windows. i also like the tetrahedral ceiling in the University Art Gallery (#1). will update this post tomorrow evening and let you know.

here's what we're seeing

1. Yale University Art Gallery by Louis Kahn: restored in 2007, this building was Kahn's first major commission and first masterpiece. the building is constructed from brick, concrete, glass, and steel and the most public facade of the building is windowless. at the time of it's construction in 1953, most of Yale's buildings adhered to neo-Gothic style. Kahn's building was revolutionary not only in its aesthetics but it's electrical and ventilation systems that are concealed within hollow concrete tetrahedrons in appear to float in the ceiling.

A Masterwork Reawakens at Yale

2. Center for British Art by Louis Kahn: this was Kahn's final work and was completed after his death in 1974. the facade of this four-story geometric building is made out of matte steel and reflective glass (photos rarely capture the steel aesthetic so I'm especially pumped to see this in person). the interior of the building is constructed out of white oak, travertine marble, and Belgian linen and was designed around two courtyards . each room in the museum is illuminated by natural light from the ceiling and artificial lighting is only used on dark days and evenings. (brilliant, Kahn!) it was the first museum in USA to incorporate retail shops into it's design.

3. Yale Art and Architecture Building by Paul Rudolph. a highly acclaimed and award winning building constructed in 1963. Rudolph's raw concrete Yale Art/Arch Building is one of the earliest and most famous examples of Brutalist architecture in the USA. heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier incorporating off-center staircases and a rooftop penthouse. two years after it's construction a Yale dean called the building dysfunctional and mutilated it by dividing up many of it's large interior spaces. soon after, an accidental fire destroyed most of the remaining Rudolph interior. Yale recently invested $126 million dollars to renovate and restore the building back to Rudolph's original design. it opened this fall.

4. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library by Gordon Bunshaft. erected in 1963, the Beinecke Library is the world's largest building dedicated to the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. the exterior of the box-within-a-box building is constructed from Danby marble, a translucent rock that protects the books from direct sunlight while also transmitting some subdued natural light. inside the Danby marble shell is a six-story above-ground rectangular shelving area for books. the building also features a sculpture garden designed by Isamu Noguchi where a pyramid represents time, a circle represents the sun, and a cube represents chance. wow


Anonymous said...

Also see SAARINEN! He has two colleges on campus and a great Hockey Rink that his former associate Kevin Roche is now expanding.

Madame Lamb said...

unfortunately we're going with our class so it isn't really up to me. i have some friends on the yale hockey team that i promised to go and watch almost 4 years ago...i'll have to make it happen so i can fully experience the eero rink.

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