Restored, Renovated and Renamed Paul Rudolph Hall Is Rededicated
After an ambitious renovation and restoration, Paul Rudolph’s renowned Art + Architecture Building was formally rededicated and renamed in honor of its designer exactly 45 years to the day after the building’s original dedication ceremony.
In addition to Paul Rudolph Hall, the Nov. 8 ceremony marked the dedication of the Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art and the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, both state-of-the-art facilities that were woven into the structure of the Rudolph building by the project’s architect Charles Gwathmey ‘62 M.Arch.
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Hundreds of guests, including many alumni of the School of Architecture, took part in the weekend-long celebration of the newest additions to the University’s arts area.
Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern ‘65 M.Arch. welcomed guests by saying that the dedication was meant “to honor the past and celebrate the future.”
“Paul Rudolph Hall has risen like a phoenix from its own ashes,” remarked Stern, referencing the fortunes of the modernist monument, which created headlines around the world when it opened but which a fire of dubious origins gutted six years later.
Having undergone renovations in the aftermath of the fire, which Gwathmey described as “unsympathetic,” the building awaited a major overhaul to restore the original vision of its architect.
Gwathmey, a former student of Rudolph’s at Yale, had the double challenge of fulfilling Rudolph’s aesthetic intentions while creating additions to harmonize with the original. (See related story.) “We asked a great architect to add to the work of a great architect,” commented Stern, “and Charles Gwathmey, a towering figure of our generation, rose to the challenge.”
President Richard C. Levin noted: “By honoring Paul Rudolph’s genius after years of neglecting, even abusing his iconic building, we are atoning for past mistakes. And by a combination of faithful restoration, imaginative reprogramming and creative expansion, we have produced a compelling environment in which the study and practice of the arts can flourish.”
Benefactors Jeffrey Loria ‘62 B.A., Robert Haas ‘69 B.A. and Sid Bass ‘65 B.A. also spoke at the dedication, each expressing a deep appreciation for Gwathmey’s work and for the Yale education in the arts that they had received. An internationally reputed art dealer, Loria cited his first class with Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, as a lesson in using his “eyes and soul” to look at things.
The weekend celebration also included a talk about Rudolph by architectural historian Timothy Rohan; an exhibition of the special collections of the new Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library; an exhibition of Rudolph’s designs for Yale and New Haven; and several panel discussions about Rudolph’s legacy by Yale Pritzker Prize winners Lord Norman Foster, Sir Richard Rogers and J. Carl Abbott Jr. - all of whom earned their M.Arch. in 1962 - as well as Yale faculty and graduate students, and School of Architecture alumni. The latter included Stanley Tigerman ‘60 B.Arch., Allan Greenberg ‘65 M.Arch. and Alexander Tzonis ‘63 M.Arch.
Under Gwathmey’s direction, many of the Modernist elements of Rudolph’s original design were restored. He and his team replaced windows, restored interior sight lines, improved climate control, and added new lighting and furnishings.
Gwathmey also designed the new Jeffrey H. Loria Center for the History of Art, a seven-story facility adjacent to Rudolph Hall. The center features offices for the Department of the History of Art, classroom space and roof garden terraces, which offer previously unattainable views of the Rudolph Building and New Haven.
The Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library extends across the ground floors of both the Rudolph Building and the Loria Center. The library unites the staff, services and collections of the Drama Library, the Visual Resources Collection, and the Arts of the Book Collection, as well as the Art + Architecture Library.