Paul Rudolf (1918-1997)

One of the earliest examples of Brutalist architecture in America is Paul Rudolph's Yale Art and Architecture Building in New Haven, Connecticut. Rudolph was awarded the commission for the Yale Art and Architecture building during his six year stint as departmental chair, between 1958 and 1965.

Completed in 1963, the building is formed of intersecting volumes of bush-hammered concrete. Slabs of ribbed concrete run in vertical sections on the interior and exterior of the 11,000-square-metre building. The concrete was cast in place using corrugated wooden moulds and bush-hammered to expose the aggregate. Smooth concrete and glass horizontal elements are supported by a sequence of towers that protrude above the roof in a series of turrets. The building, now known as Rudolph Hall, occupies a corner site bordered on its south side by road, and on the north by red brick buildings.

Inside, the complex floor plan is made up of 37 terraced levels spaced across seven main storeys and two basement floors. Each level overlooks a central atrium that features a sunken pit and is topped by a series of skylights, while narrow concrete walkways connect the spaces on either side of the well.

In 1969, the building was the target of a suspected arson attack that caused extensive fire damage to the upper floors and water damage to the floors below. Refurbishment saw much of Rudolph's original layout altered by the insertion of mezzanine levels, sectioning of the space, and double-glazing. By the 2000s the building had undergone several further renovations that compromised Rudolph's original design. A survey showed the building was no longer fit for purpose and didn't comply with contemporary fire regulations and accessibility requirements. The university then commissioned Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA), a firm led by a former student of Rudolph, to lead a $126 million renovation and extension project.

Credit: Dezeen, 26 September 2014
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