Yale University’s Art + Architecture Building, captured headlines when it opened in 1963 in downtown New Haven, Conn. The fortress-like, 114,000-sq ft cast-in-place concrete structure was one of the world’s most iconic, Modernistic buildings ever built as a school of architecture.

Renovation of Paul Rudolph Hall, Yale University-New Haven, Conn.

But over the years a fire and unsympathetic patchwork renovations destroyed legendary designer and then-Yale architecture school dean Paul Rudolph’s original vision.

A fast-track $126 million renovation, restoration and construction project has restored the building, rededicated as Paul Rudolph Hall, to its original landmark status. Besides the 46-year-old building, the project included construction of an 87,000-sq ft, 7-story building for the history of art department called the Jeffrey Loria Center; and the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library housing arts, architecture and visual resource collections, which extends across the ground floors of both buildings.

The restoration of the existing facility included both exterior and interior work designed by New York-based Charles Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects. Coincidentally, the firm’s principal Chalres Gwathmey was an architecture student of Rudolph’s. The project was also a top priority of the architecture school’s dean, Robert A.M. Stern, also a student of Rudolph’s. Four other plans over the past decade failed to win Yale’s endorsement.

Added to the complicated scope of the project, Yale didn’t want to displace students and faculty from the architecture school for more than one academic year. That meant demolition, renovation and new construction had to be coordinated and finished with a 14-month time frame, something Gwathmey project associate Steven Forman said was only accomplished with the early and constant involvement of construction manager Turner Construction.

The result was a project that was brought in on time, on budget and is winning praise. Details of the restoration included cleaning and repairing the exterior, replacing patches of original hammered-rib texturing, and removing mismatched window units with new, massive insulated sheets of glass. That last step coupled with reopening enclosed spaces added a tremendous amount of light into the building.

The new Loria building houses all faculty offices and auditorium space. The Haas library features a huge atrium, and visitors can move between the two buildings easily, one results Forman said is improved circulation patters and vistas from each floor, as well as improved views to the outside.

The entire project achieved LEED Gold certification.

Key Players

Owner/Developer: Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Architect: Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, New York
Consulting Preservation Architect: Hoffman Architects, Hamden, Conn.
MEP Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber Consulting Engineers, Norwalk, Conn.
Structural Engineer: Severud Associates Consulting Engineers, New York
Construction Manager: Turner Construction Co., Milford, Conn.
Concrete Restoration Contractor: Frank Capasso & Sons, Northford, Conn.
Roofing/Waterproof Contractor: Barrett Inc., Danbury, Conn.
Window Wall Installer: Curtainwalls & Windows Inc., Glastonbury, Conn.
Environmental Design Consultant: Atelier Ten, New York