Yale Center for British Art, 1977
Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974, faculty 1947-59, D.F.A. 1965)
Chapel Street between High and York Streets yields the pleasure of seeing Louis Kahn's work at the beginning of his career, with the Art Gallery extension he designed in 1953 on the campus-side of Chapel and, across from it, the Yale Center for British Art completed in 1977, three years after the architect's death. Kahn's engagement with light is obvious in both museums, as is his engagement with the street. Amazingly, the actual entrance to the Center for British Art at the corner of High Street is rather difficult to find below the concrete framed-stainless steel façade; visitors can seem bewildered until they see, some 40 feet behind the low recess, a pair of glass doors leading to top-lit atrium, one of two in the building. Upon entering the Center for British Art, then, visitors discover the true magic of Kahn's work — the way in which light and visitor and art interact.