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Preservationist props for A&A restoration

Yale and the historic-preservation community don't always see eye to eye: preservationists have clashed with the university in recent years about razing 13 buildings to build new residential colleges, tearing down an 1830s-vintage house, and inserting a modern balcony in the Berkeley College dining hall. But on Tuesday, the New Haven Preservation Trust lauded Yale for its “conscious decision to restore and preserve its Modern Masterpieces,” citing the restored Paul Rudolph Hall (formerly known as the Art & Architecture Building, or A&A) as an example and awarding Yale the NHPT Landmark Plaque. The plaque was given as part of the NHPT’s renewed awards program.

Once, modernism only appeared in preservation stories as the villain—the oppressive philosophy and style that disdained history and embraced the bulldozer. But as modern buildings have themselves become a part of history, preservationists have become advocates for modernism (the NHPT recently launched a site called New Haven Modern to promote the area’s modern landmarks)—and institutions like Yale have become curators of their modern buildings. (Besides Rudolph Hall, the university has restored the Art Gallery, Stiles and Morse Colleges, and Ingalls Rink in recent years.)

Architect Duo Dickinson, an NHPT board member who led the awards committee, told the New Haven Register that Yale deserved credit for restoring Rudolph Hall despite the “great financial sacrifice” involved. For more on the Rudolph restoration, see our November/December 2008 cover story by Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin ’84MEnvD.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under architecture, Preservation, New Haven Preservation Trust, Paul Rudolph Hall
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