Yale Names Architects for A&A Renovation, Art History Building

Yale University has chosen internationally renowned architects David M. Childs and Richard Meier to design two projects for its expanding arts area complex.

Yale University has chosen internationally renowned architects David M. Childs and Richard Meier to design two projects for its expanding arts area complex.

Renovations to 180 York Street, a building designed by Paul Rudolph for the Art and Architecture schools at Yale, will be done by Childs, senior design partner and chairman of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. New construction of an Art History Building at 200 York Street will be designed by Meier, who heads his own architecture firm, Richard Meier & Partners. Construction on both projects is expected to begin in the fall of 2002 and to be completed mid-2004.

Childs earned both his B.A. (1963) and M.Arch. (1967) degrees from Yale. Prior to joining Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in 1971, Childs was design director of the Pennsylvania Avenue Commission in Washington, D.C. and was appointed by the President to head the National Capital Planning Commission (1975-1981). His completed projects in Washington include the Mall master plan, the National Geographic headquarters, the Four Seasons, Regent and Part Hyatt hotels, and more. In New York, they include the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Bertelsmann Tower at Times Square and the master plan for Riverside South. Elsewhere, he has done the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the new Credit Suisse/First Boston headquarters in London. He is currently working on the Columbus Center/Time Warner headquarters at Columbus Circle, the new New York Stock Exchange, the new Pennsylvania Station and Changi Airport in Singapore. Currently under construction are his designs for the JFK International Arrivals Building and the Bear Stearns Headquarters tower on Madison Avenue.

Meier received his architectural training at Cornell University (1957) and established his own office, Richard Meier & Partners, in New York in 1963. His practice has included major civic commissions such as courthouses and city halls in the United States and Europe, museums, corporate headquarters and residences. Among his best-known projects are the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Canal+ Television Headquarters in Paris and the High Museum in Atlanta. His firm is currently designing the new City Hall in San Jose, California, the Jubilee Church in Rome, the Broad Arts Center at UCLA and a mixed-use high-rise development in Prague. In 1984 Meier was awarded the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, considered the field’s highest honor. He won the Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal in 1989 and both the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal and the Japanese government’s Praemium Imperiale in 1997, for his lifetime achievement.

The Art and Architecture building, completed in 1963, was designed by Rudolph, then chairman of the Department of Architecture. Its completion was a major event in architecture, and it has since become a landmark in the history of modernism. It rises seven stories above the street and has two levels below grade. It originally housed both the Art and Architecture Departments, which were later made separate schools at Yale, as well as the art and architecture library. Following a fire in 1969, the building was remodeled to accommodate expanded programs of the two schools then housed in it, with many of its most dramatic features compromised to increase available floor space. It received a small but dramatic interim renovation in the summer of 2000, when the School of Art moved into Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall, 1156 Chapel Street. In this renovation, some of the original features were recovered, including the architecture gallery on the second floor and the skylit double height space on the fourth and fifth floors. For the first time, all facets of the School of Architecture were able to come together under one roof. Childs will oversee a renovation of the structure and an upgrade of all mechanical systems.

Meier will design a new building adjacent to the School of Architecture. This 65,000-square-foot facility will house the History of Art Department and the principal parts of a new Arts Library, including the Visual Resources Collection. The new building will help address the Arts Library’s pressing need for space. Its collections of books on art, architecture, drama and art history have more than quadrupled to over 100,000 volumes since its founding. The new Arts Library will be able to offer a wide range of services not possible in the present facility.

The two buildings will share some spaces, fostering interdisciplinary connections between the arts and architecture. The Arts Library will occupy the ground floor and basement of both buildings. In the Rudolph building, the existing gallery as well as two lecture halls, and a caf /lounge will serve both buildings.

All told, the University’s arts area expansion will renovate 500,000 square feet and add 275,000 additional square feet to 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 was designed to create a vital, integrated arts community in which students and faculty exchange ideas and share skills and resources across Yale’s unparalleled collection of top-ranked professional arts schools that have graduated such stars as actors Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett and Henry Winkler; artists Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Brice Marsden and Howardena Pindell; and architects Norman Foster, Maya Lin, Charles Gwathmey, and Robert A.M. Stern (current dean of Yale’s School of Architecture).

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325