Yale Dedicates Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, New Home for School of Art

Yale President Richard C. Levin and the deans of the Art and Drama schools today officially dedicated Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, named for the Yale Corporation member and 1961 graduate of Yale College whose generous gift made the renovation possible.

Green Hall, now home to the School of Art, is a wonderful 105,000-square-foot complex that includes a newly renovated building at 1156 Chapel Street and an adjacent new building at 353 Crown Street. Of the total square footage, 1156 Chapel Street consists of 70,000 square feet and 353 Crown Street consists of 35,000 square feet.

The architect for this $26 million project was Deborah Berke of Deborah Berke Architect, an associate professor at Yale’s School of Architecture. Flack & Kurtz was the mechanical engineer, Robert Silman Associates the structural engineer, and Dimeo Construction Company the construction manager.

“Thanks to the generosity of Holcombe Green, we have taken a bold first step in Yale’s ambitious plans to invest $250 million in the expansion and improvement of our arts facilities,” Levin said. “Deborah Berke has designed wonderful new working spaces for our art and drama students, and, by reclaiming an abandoned building, we have made a major contribution to revitalizing downtown New Haven.”

Yale’s plans for its arts facilities in the vicinity of Chapel and York Streets were unveiled yesterday. They include the renovation and expansion of the Yale University Art Gallery, a new building for the History of Art Department, and renovations of Paul Rudolph’s Art and Architecture building, the Yale Repertory Theater, the University Theater, and the old Yale Press building at 149 York Street, which will house the School of Drama.

Richard Benson, dean of the School of Art and professor of photography, added, “Deborah Berke has done a wonderful job with the building. She’s renovated a piece of Chapel Street while simultaneously creating a new and versatile home for us for the next century.”

Green Hall 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. The School of Art has its own exhibition gallery, a system of interlocking spaces over three levels beginning with a ground-floor space facing onto Chapel Street.

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 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. The complex serves several hundred undergraduate and over 100 graduate students.

The theater is designed as flexible space to accommodate various configurations of seating and performance space. Depending on the configuration, seating capacity ranges from about 100 to 200. The theater lobby faces Chapel Street and opens onto the entrance balcony. Both the theater and the Art School’s gallery provide a natural and exciting place for interaction with the wider communities of Yale and New Haven. About 90 percent of the complex is occupied by the School of Art and about 10 percent by the Drama School.

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