Paul Marvin Rudolph (October 23rd 1918 – August 8th 1997) was an American architect and the dean of the Yale School of Architecture for six years, known for use of concrete and highly complex floor plans. His most famous work is the Yale Art and Architecture Building (A&A Building), a spatially complex Brutalist concrete structure.
Rudolph earned his bachelors's degree in architecture at Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute) in 1940 and then moved on to the Harvard Graduate School of Design to study with Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. After three years, he left to serve in the Navy for another three years, returning to Harvard to receive his master's in 1947.
He moved to Sarasota, Florida and partnered with Ralph Twitchell for four years until he started his own practice in 1951. Rudolph's Sarasota time is now part of the period labeled Sarasota Modern in his career.
Notable for its appearance in the 1958 book, Masters of Modern Architecture, the W. R. Healy House, built in 1950, was a one-story Sarasota house built on posts. The roof was concave, in order to allow rainwater to drain off. In addition, Rudolph used jalousie windows, which enabled the characteristic breezes to and from Sarasota Bay to flow into the house. Adaptation to the subtropical climate was central to his designs and Rudolph is considered one of the major architects in what is labeled the Sarasota School of Architecture.
A portion of Riverview High School in 2007
Other Sarasota landmarks by Rudolph include the Sarasota County Riverview High School, built in 1957 as his first large scale project. There was a great deal of controversy in Sarasota, where many members of the community appealed for the retention of the historic building after the decision reached in 2006 by the county school board to demolish the structure. The building was torn down in 2009.
Paul Rudolph's Florida houses attracted attention in the architectural community and he started receiving commissions for larger works such as the Jewett Art Center at Wellesley College. He took over the helm of the Yale School of Architecture as its dean in 1958, shortly after designing the Yale Art and Architecture Building. That building often is considered his masterpiece. He stayed on at Yale for six years until he returned to private practice. He designed the Temple Street Parking Garage, also in New Haven, in 1962.
One of his most iconic houses, the Milam Residence, also dates from the early 1960's. It still stands today on Florida's eastern coast, outside Jacksonville. Instead of modular construction, Rudolph used concrete blocks to construct this many-leveled house for the Milam family. This house's iconic seaside facade of stacked rectangles exemplifies the sculptural nature of Rudolph's work during this period.
Whilst Dean of Yale Architecture School Rudolph taught Mazharul Islam, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, all attending the Masters course as scholarship students. Foster in particular has noted the significant influence that Rudolph had upon him. It is also clear that Rudolph's drawing and handwriting styles had a strong effect upon Foster, and his handwriting is near identical to Rudolph's. Rudolph was invited to Bangladesh by Mazharul Islam and designed Bangladesh Agricultural University.
He later designed the Government Service Center in Boston, First Church in Boston, the main campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the Dana Arts Center at Colgate University, and the Burroughs Wellcome headquarters in North Carolina.
While the Brutalist style fell out of favor in the U.S. during the 1970s, Rudolph's work evolved, and became in demand in other countries. Rudolph designed reflective glass office towers in this period, such as the City Center Towers in Fort Worth, which departed from his concrete works. Rudolph continued working on projects in Singapore, where he designed The Concourse office tower with its ribbon windows and interweaving floors, as well as projects in other Asian countries through the last years of his life. His work, the Lippo Centre, completed in 1987, is a landmark in the area near Admiralty Station of MTR in Hong Kong, and a culmination of Rudolph's ideas in reflective glass. In Indonesia Rudolph pieces of art can be found in Jakarta, Wisma Dharmala Sakti, and in Surabaya, Wisma Dharmala Sakti 2.
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