Yale University Art Gallery, 1953, 2006
Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974, faculty 1947-59, D.F.A. 1965)
Restoration and renovation
Polshek Partnership Architects
James S. Polshek (b. 1930, M.ARCH 1955)
Louis Kahn's career as one of the most important architects of the second half of the 20th Century began with his design for the Yale University Art Gallery. When it was completed in 1953, Kahn's addition to the Old Art Gallery marked a shift in Yale's campus aesthetic; it was the first University building to be built in the modernist style. Kahn's front façade is windowless and bare, in dramatic contrast to the deep window enclosures of Swartwout's work. Although Kahn's building can seem stark and even distant from the street, it is on the inside an intimate home for Yale's art collection. Its tetrahedral concrete ceiling and precisely geometric stairway are signature elements of the design as are the north- and west-facing glass façades that are among the earliest examples of curtain-wall construction to be realized in the United States.