Yale Announces $250 Million Plan To Expand, Refurbish Arts Facilities -- Bass Gives $20 Million to Renovate Historic Rudolph Building

Yale University announced a $250-million plan today to expand and refurbish its arts area complex, with a $20 million gift from Sid R. Bass earmarked to renovate the historic Paul Rudolph building.

All told, the University will renovate 500,000 square feet and add 275,000 more for its schools of Art, Architecture and Drama, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Arts Library, the Digital Media Center for the Arts and the History of Art department.

The Arts Area Plan, however, is designed to do more than upgrade facilities. It will create a vital, integrated arts community through which students and faculty will exchange ideas and share skills and resources across Yale’s unparalleled collection of top-ranked professional arts schools that have graduated such future stars as actors Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett and Henry Winkler; artists Richard Serra and Howardena Pindell; and architects Maya Lin, Charles Gwathmey and Robert A.M. Stern (Dean of Yale’s School of Architecture).

In addition, the plan will make the arts an even more valuable contributor to New Haven, helping to invigorate the area bounded by High Street (including Street Hall to the east), York Street (including the University Theater building to the north), Crown Street to the south and Park Street to the west. It will encourage more interaction among the arts at Yale, the surrounding community, and the many visitors to the Greater New Haven area each year.

The gift from Bass, a Fort Worth, Texas resident and member of the Yale College Class of 1965, is one of the largest single donations by an individual to Yale. A former Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation, Bass has been a generous donor over the years, helping to fund such important projects as the renovations to Linsly-Chittenden Hall and William L. Harkness Hall, classroom improvements, faculty and other fellowships, and additional University needs.

“Once again, Sid Bass has answered the call and directed a generous gift to an area of major priority for the University,” President Richard C. Levin said. “By restoring Paul Rudolph’s iconic building, his gift will provide extraordinary spaces to inspire generations of architecture students and permit the expansion of our distinguished Arts Library. The gift will also encourage others to support our ambitious plans for the arts, which contribute so much to the life of Yale and New Haven.”

Bass said, “As an undergraduate, I was deeply moved by the bold innovations of the Paul Rudolph Art and Architecture Building. This led to a long working relationship with Paul, who completed for me a residence in the early ’70s and two office buildings in the early ’80s. I am delighted to provide support for this historically significant building.”

The arts area plan, which Yale will implement in the next eight to ten years and fund largely through gifts from donors, includes the following components:

Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall

This 105,000-square-foot complex, which opened this fall and will be formally dedicated at a ceremony on October 27, includes a newly renovated building at 1156 Chapel Street and a new building at 353 Crown Street.

Green Hall, funded through a generous gift from Holcolmbe T. Green Jr., a member of the Yale Corporation and a 1961 graduate of Yale College, is the new home of the School of Art. It is home to almost all School of Art programs that had been spread among the Rudolph building, several facilities on Park Street and one on Wall Street. The building houses the Paul Rand Center for Graphic Design, a gift from the widow of the pioneering graphic designer and former faculty member to provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities for graphic design. The sole exception to the consolidation of School of Art programs is the sculpture program, which remains in Hammond Hall on Mansfield Street but which may eventually move closer to Green Hall.

Green Hall also is the new home of the Experimental Theater of the School of Drama. Previously housed in the University Theater at 222 York Street, the Experimental Theater now joins the Yale Repertory Theater on the corner of York and Chapel Streets and the University Theater as a third performance locale for the Drama School.

Paul Rudolph building

Known informally as the Art and Architecture building, the Rudolph building at 180 York Street was remodeled after a fire in 1969 and received a small but dramatic interim renovation in the summer of 2000. Under this plan, however, it will be restored to its original 1963 configuration, which included dramatic multi-story spaces that had been divided with the subsequent addition of new floors and partitions.

With the School of Art now housed in Green Hall, the School of Architecture has assumed more space in the Rudolph building. In addition, the undergraduate architecture program and the Urban Design Workshop, which had been housed in the Fence Club at 220 York Street, has moved to the Rudolph building, increasing the interactions between the undergraduate and graduate programs in this exciting field. Also, as noted in the next section, the Arts Library will occupy the ground floor and basement of both this building and the History of Art building.

History of Art building

Adjacent to the Rudolph building and located at 194-200 York Street, this new building will include 70,000 square feet to house the History of Art Department, the Arts Library and the Digital Media Center for the Arts (DMCA).

This building will include space that it will share with the Rudolph building, fostering interdisciplinary connections between the arts programs in one building and architecture in the adjacent one. The Arts Library will occupy the ground floor and basement of both buildings, while the DMCA occupies space in both buildings. In the Rudolph building, an existing gallery as well as two lecture halls, the Visual Resources Collection and a caf /lounge will serve both buildings.

The new building will help address the pressing need for space by the Arts Library, whose collections of books on art, architecture, drama and art history have more than quadrupled to over 100,000 volumes since its founding. By housing the DMCA, the new building will free up space at 149 York St. to meet the Drama School’s teaching and rehearsal needs.

Yale University Art Gallery

With its collection of some 80,000 objects, the gallery-the first of Louis Kahn’s museum commissions-serves Yale and New Haven as a world-renowned resource. But it faces a shortage of space to house and exhibit its collections as well as serious structural problems.

Under the plan, the gallery will expand from its site at 1111 Chapel Street to the Old Art Gallery building on Chapel Street and Street Hall on High Street. The gallery, Old Art Gallery and Street Hall buildings will be completely renovated, with space reconfigured and systems upgraded to contemporary standards of museum design to provide state-of-the-art environmental controls and lighting.

When completed, the gallery will feature a continuous sequence on the second and third floors that enables patrons to circulate among the three buildings without ever retracing their steps; a new Yale Art Study Center; object-study classrooms; a teaching gallery co-curated by Yale faculty; and an expanded lobby with extra space for special events and access to the rear sculpture garden that will be restored and given a new path from York Street.

The University also plans to build a new facility near the gallery to provide ready-access and limited-access storage areas, including space for future growth of the collections; a Decorative Arts Collections study; object-study classrooms; curatorial work areas; and installation support areas. Along with the renovations described above, the new facility will enable the Gallery to reaffirm its mission as a teaching museum in which the first-hand study of objects plays a primary role.

The School of Drama

In addition to the new Experimental Theater in Green Hall, the Arts Area Plan calls for the renovation of the Yale Repertory Theater, at the corner of Chapel and York streets, as well as the University Theater, a York Street facility that the School shares with the undergraduate drama society, The Yale Dramat. The offices, classrooms, workshops and rehearsal spaces of the School, now scattered in various buildings along York Street, will be consolidated in a renovated facility at 149 York, a building once occupied by the Yale University Press.

The Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art at 1080 Chapel Street, which has the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, was recently renovated and reopened in January 1999. The gift of Paul Mellon ‘29 to Yale, the museum and its collections of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and rare books are housed in an award-winning building designed by Louis Kahn.

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