Exhibitions in New Arts Buildings Highlight Architect’s Legacy, Library’s ‘Treasures’

Projects created by celebrated architect Paul Rudolph (1918-1997) for New Haven and Yale University — designs that changed the face of the city and the campus — are the subject of an exhibition opening on Monday, Nov. 10, in the gallery of the newly renovated Paul Rudolph Hall, the landmark building that houses the Yale School of Architecture, 180 York St.

Another exhibition, titled “Treasures from the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library,” will also open on Nov. 10 in the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library in the new Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art, 190 York St.

The opening of the two exhibitions follows a series of events celebrating the formal rededication and renaming of Paul Rudolph Hall and the dedication of the recently completed arts complex, which includes Rudolph Hall, the Loria Center and the expanded Arts Library that bridges those two structures. The complex is the work of noted architect Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.

‘Model City’ exhibition

“Model City: Buildings and Projects by Paul Rudolph for Yale and New Haven” focuses on 13 key designs and is the first scholarly exhibition of Rudolph’s work. The exhibition, on view through Feb. 6, is curated by Timothy M. Rohan, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has drawn upon a range of materials, selected primarily from the Paul Rudolph Archive at the Library of Congress.

The exhibit itself is located in one of Rudolph’s most famous buildings, the Yale Art + Architecture Building (1958-1963), which has been renamed Paul Rudolph Hall after the completion of its restoration in summer 2008. “Model City: Buildings and Projects by Paul Rudolph for Yale and New Haven” is being presented in conjunction with the rededication of the building as Paul Rudolph Hall, part of Yale’s new arts complex.

Known as the “Model City” for its leadership in urban renewal, New Haven was a proving ground for Rudolph to develop ideas about the primary themes of post-World War II Modernism. Soon after Rudolph became chair of Yale’s Architecture Department (1958-1965), Mayor Richard Lee and his administrator for urban renewal, Edward Logue, engaged the architect to help usher New Haven into the automobile age with the Temple Street Parking Garage (1959-1963). Intended to help revitalize downtown, the parking garage project was part of Rudolph’s larger, unexecuted scheme for Church Street Redevelopment (1959-1960), which will be on public display for the first time in this exhibition.

Rudolph designed a series of buildings for the University - including Greeley Memorial Laboratory (1957-1959), Paul Rudolph Hall and Married Student Housing (1960-1961) - whose structural qualities embodied postwar architecture’s quest for innovative architectural expression. Even after leaving Yale in 1965, Rudolph continued to produce important projects for New Haven, such as the Oriental Masonic Gardens (1968-1971), an experiment in pre-fabricated housing, and the unbuilt, decades-long project for the New Haven Government Center (1968-1981).

Long before consideration of the existing urban context became standard practice among modernist architects, Rudolph emphasized forging relationships between old and new structures. By bringing these projects together, the exhibit aims to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of postwar architecture and urban renewal.

Designed by Dean Sakamoto, critic and director of exhibitions at the Yale School of Architecture, “The Model City” will feature original drawings, prints and photographs; newly created architectural models; and a documentary video, created especially for the occasion, focusing on Rudolph’s urban renewal projects in New Haven. The video was produced by Elihu Rubin, the Daniel Rose ‘51 Visiting Assistant Professor of Urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture, with his film group, American Beat.

The 13 built and unbuilt projects examined in the exhibition are organized in thematic groups, including “critiquing modernism,” “monumental urbanism” and “pre-fabrication.” Several of the unbuilt and unpublished projects, including Rudolph’s scheme for Church Street Redevelopment and his proposed addition to Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium (1959), will be seen for the first time.

Regular public hours for the gallery are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. “The Model City” exhibition will also be open Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Arts Library ‘Treasures’

The special collections of the new Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library include content from three arts libraries formerly housed in separate locations — the Art & Architecture Library, the Arts of the Book Collection and the Drama Library.

“Treasures from the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library” draws on each of these collections and showcases rare and unique, published and archival materials.

Highlights include Lodovico Dolce’s “Dialogo … nel quale si nel ragiona delle qualita`, diversita`, e proprieta` de i colori,” published in Venice in 1565, from the Faber Birren Collection of Books on Color; woodcuts and proofs for the illustrations of Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary,” published by the Limited Editions Club, from the personal and artistic archives of illustrator Fritz Kredel; an original wood engraving for the cover illustration of the 1943 Random House edition of “Wuthering Heights,” drawn from the papers of artist and illustrator Fritz Eichenberg; set designs for a production of “Salome” from the archive of costume and set designer Rollo Peters; cabinet photographs from the Rockefeller Theatrical Prints Collection; and a miniature puppet theater from the Arts Library collections of George Pierce Baker, the first head of the Yale University Department of Drama (1925-1933).

Regular public hours for the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library are Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 2:30-11 p.m. This exhibition will be on view throughout the fall semester.

Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345