Yale enlists famed architect for new art history building

Over four decades ago, Yale had renowned architect Paul Rudolph design the Art & Architecture Building, which now bears his name. Now, Yale has repeated the feat by enlisting Getty Museum architect Richard Meier to design a new art history building next door.

The new building, which will stand between the existing A&A building and the Briton Hadden Memorial Building, will be completed in a little over three years at a cost of approximately $35 million, Kemel Dawkins, associate vice president for facilities, said.

In the 12- to 18- week design phase of the project, Meier will work with David Childs ’63 ARC ’67 from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm responsible for designing the Sears Tower in Chicago.

“The notion of a collaboration between Richard Meier and David Childs is an exciting prospect,” Dawkins said.

Yale officials hope the building’s glass facade will complement the heaviness of the Rudolph building.

“It’s going to look similar to the Art & Architecture Building,” Dawkins said. “They are trying to do something light and airy that complements [it]. It’s Richard Meier’s expression and is not a copy of the Rudolph building,” Dawkins added.

Art history professor Vincent Scully told the Yale Daily News last month that he was excited about the project.

“The other building is so heavy and massive; it would be a mistake to try to deal with it in similar heavy terms,” Scully said.

After the Yale Corporation’s most recent meeting in late December, Yale President Richard Levin said the body had been briefed about the building. He praised the project planners’ attempts to complement the A&A building without copying it.

“This will be a great enhancement for Yale,” Levin said.

He added that the building will house 12 to 15 classrooms along with an expansion of the Arts Library.

Early plans also have included a cafe on the ground floor of the new building. While specifics for the cafe still have not been worked out, Dawkins said he expected it to function as a space open to the general public.

The A&A building also will receive a renovation during the process at a cost of around $30 million dollars, according to this fiscal year’s capital budget.

The construction of the art history building and the renovation of the Rudolph building are part of a bigger plan to increase funding for the arts and to improve facilities around campus.

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