Renovated Louis Kahn Building, Opening in December 2006
When the Yale University Art Gallery reopens its Louis Kahn building in December 2006, following an extensive three-year renovation, it will offer visitors a new and dramatically enhanced experience of its collections. Significant new acquisitions—evidence of the vigorous acquisitions program that the Gallery has pursued in recent years—will be on view, along with many of the treasures that have long drawn scholars, students, and the public to the museum. The installation will reflect the Gallery’s focus on teaching and making works of art accessible to Yale students and faculty as well as to teachers in the community.
The Louis Kahn building, the Gallery’s main facility—named after its celebrated architect—originally opened in 1953 and is an internationally recognized landmark of modernist architecture. Over the years, the building’s expansive, open spaces were diminished as it was divided into smaller galleries, classrooms, offices, and study rooms. The renovation, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, will restore Kahn’s design to its original purity and integrity while introducing up-to-date building systems to ensure the proper display and preservation of the Gallery’s encyclopedic collections.
The first floor of the renovated Gallery will feature 3,500 square feet of space designated for temporary exhibitions, as well as a welcoming lobby area where visitors can learn about the Gallery’s resources, browse through publications, or meet with friends and colleagues. The lobby will also feature a Media Lounge, where video and new-media screenings and programming will take place. The upper floors will be devoted primarily to the display of objects from the permanent collections. Additionally, a study and research center for works on paper will enhance the Gallery’s role as an integral part of the academic life of the Yale community.
The numerous new acquisitions that will be on view throughout the Gallery include selections from one of the largest and most significant single gifts of art in the Gallery’s history—the exceptional Charles B. Benenson collection of African art. This gift, totaling 586 objects, has transformed what was once a modest teaching installation into one of the nation’s major repositories of African art, nearly tripling the Gallery’s holdings in this area.