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Yale Center for British Art
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Architect Louis I. Kahn
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Location New Haven, Connecticut   map
Date 1969 to 1974   timeline
Building Type art museum with mixed use retail
 Construction System concrete
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern
Notes Expressed frame and infill.
Images

 


Photo

Photo

Photo
Drawings

 

Available on The GBC CD-ROM.

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

3D Spatial Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

Model Viewing Instructions
 
Discussion Yale Center for British Art Commentary

"The building's discreet, grey, monotone exterior of mat steel and reflective glass and its clearly read concrete frame confer a certain noble, armored mien appropriate to its purpose. If a building can be personified as possessing a powerful physicality and musculature, those are the words for the Yale Center for British Art. ...Inside the building the visitor experiences the same clarity and organization seen on the exterior. Without the plan being fully revealed upon entry, the entrance court immediately establishes a sense of logical orientation, and the second-floor library court continues this interior organization so that the visitor intuitively feels familiar with the plan and can find his way around the galleries through reference to the courts."

— Patricia Cummings Loud. The Art Museums of Louis I. Kahn. p228-230.

"Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art, based on a repetitive 20-foot-square grid, was formally conceived as a series of highly structured 'roomlike' spaces. Organized around two inner courts which, like the fourth and top floor, are beautifully naturally lighted from above through a coffered skylight system, the whole ambiance of the building is rich, seductive, and well-scaled to the mainly eighteenth and early nineteenth century paintings. The exposed concrete structure with oak paneled inserts has led to a warmer, more sedate feeling, appropriate to the art displayed. As Kahn asked himself questions about light to the interior he made openings in planes; as he broached questions of exhibit he devised systems to place planes in space."

— from Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. p21-22.

The Creator's Words

"A museum seems like a secondary thing, unless it is a great treasury. A treasury, a guarded love for your source. Oh, what a place that would be! Not just an accumulation crowded together. You go through halls and halls and halls. The Museum of Cairo is a confined building that looks more like a storage house than it does a museum.

A museum should spread out.

The first thing you want in most museums is a cup of coffee. You feel so tired immediately.

A museum needs a garden.

You walk in a garden and you can either come in or not. This large garden tells you you may walk in to see the things or you may walk out. Completely free. You're not forced to go in. You go to see one thing or you are taken there to see it, and it's part of the visual history, the sense of the unmeasurable."

— Louis I. Kahn. from Patricia Cummings Loud. The Art Museums of Louis I. Kahn. p231.

Resources
Sources on Yale Center for British Art

"", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 230, 2005.0302, pC1.1.

David B. Brownlee. Louis I. Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1991. NA737.K32B76 1991. ISBN 0-8478-1323-1. LC 91-9760. plan, p411. section, p411.

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. four-square diagram, p189. double center diagram, p200. — Updated edition available at Amazon.com

Patricia Cummings Loud. The Art Museums of Louis I. Kahn. Durham, North Carolina, Duke University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8223-0998-0. LC 89-51072. NA6695.L69 1989. extensive discussion, p172-243.

Jeanne M. Davern. Architecture 1970-1980: A Decade of Change. New York: McGraw Hill, 1980. ISBN 0-07-002352-2. LC 80-11465. NA2542.35A72. exterior photo, p174. interior photo, p175.

Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-01328-0. LC 92-18415. NA2750.H48 1993. discussion p21-22. interior view across atrium space, p21. interior photo of entry atrium, p21.

Helen Searing. New American Art Museums. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982. ISBN 0-520-04896-2. plan drawing, p66. exterior photo, p67.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.—

 


 

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