Friday, August 29, 2008

Restoring Paul Rudolph

In Wednesday's New York Times:

NEW HAVEN — It’s hard to think of a building that has suffered through more indignities than the Yale School of Art and Architecture. On the day of its dedication in 1963, the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner condemned the oppressive monumentality of its concrete forms. Two years later the school’s dean brutally cut up many of the interiors, which he claimed were dysfunctional. A few years after that a fire gutted what was left. By then the reputation of the building’s architect, Paul Rudolph, was in ruins.

Under the circumstances it’s a miracle that Yale didn’t tear the building down. But several years ago the university started down the road to atonement, investing $126 million in a major restoration and addition designed by the New York firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates.

The result should stun those who have continued to deny Rudolph’s talent. Now seen in its full glory, his building turns out to be a masterpiece of late Modernism, one that will force many to reappraise an entire period of Modernist history and put Rudolph back on the pedestal where he belongs...

To read the rest of Nicolai Ouroussoff's article, click here.

Bruce Barnes, the Librarian at UMass Dartmouth's Clare T. Carney Library, has created an informative website about Paul Rudolph that draws extensively on the Rudolph Archive in the Library of Congress and the holdings of UMass Dartmouth Library Archives and Special Collections.

Earlier this summer, the international organization DOCOMOMO (Working Party for the Documentation and Conservation of Works of the Modernist Movement) reported on a School Board vote to raze Paul Rudolph's Riverview High School in Sarasota, FL. If you are interested in joining DOCOMOMO, go to:

This past spring, Theodore Prudon, President of the DOCOMOMO US Board, was interviewed for AIArchitect about his new book, Preservation of Modern Architecture. It is currently available in the TSA Library [NA682.M63 P78].

DOCOMOMO-NOLA, a regional group focused on Louisiana modernist architecture, recently obtained chapter status, and is planning a Canal Street Car Tour scheduled for October 4, 2008.

Francine Stock for DOCOMOMO-NOLA, Building Canal Street, 08.2008.

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