Paul Rudolph

Paul Marvin Rudolph (October 23, 1918 – August 8, 1997) was an American architect and the chair of Yale University’s Department of Architecture for six years, known for his 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.

1 Early life, education and personal life
2 Work
3 Death
4 Gallery
5 See also
6 References
7 Bibliography
8 External links
Early life, education and personal life
Paul Marvin Rudolph was born October 23, 1918 in Elkton, Kentucky. His father was an itinerant Methodist preacher, and through their travels Rudolph was exposed to the architecture of the American south. He also showed early talent at painting and music.[1] Rudolph earned his bachelor’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.[1] Rudolph was gay.[2][3] He is one of the modernist architects considered one of the pioneers of the Sarasota School of Architecture.


Healy Guest House (Paul Rudolph and Ralph Twitchell, Architects)

Paul Rudolph’s residence at 23 Beekman Place
Following his studies at Harvard, Rudolph moved to Sarasota, Florida, and partnered with Ralph Twitchell for four years until he started his own practice in 1952. Rudolph’s Sarasota time is now part of the period labeled Sarasota School of Architecture in his career.

Notable for its appearance in the 1958 book Masters of Modern Architecture, the W. R. Healy Guest House – nicknamed The Cocoon House – was a one-story guest house built in 1950 on Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida. The roof was concave and was constructed using a built-up spray-on process that Rudolph had seen used to cocoon disused ships during his time in the US Navy (hence, the house’s nickname). In addition, Rudolph used jalousie windows, which enabled the characteristic breezes to and from the Sarasota Bay to flow through the house.

Other Sarasota landmarks by Rudolph include the Riverview High School, built in 1957 as his first large-scale project. In 2006, there was a great deal of controversy in Sarasota when many members of the community appealed for the retention of the historic building after the decision reached by the county school board to demolish the structure. As Charles Gwathmey, the architect overseeing renovation of Art and Architecture Building at Yale, said:

Riverview High School is a fantastic prototype of what today we call green architecture. He was so far ahead of his time, experimenting with sun screens and cross-ventilation. If it’s torn down, I feel badly for architecture.[4]

In June 2009, Riverview High School was demolished.[5]

Another school building in Sarasota designed by Rudolph was the 1958 addition to Sarasota High School, a concrete structure that utilized large overhanging sunshades and “internal” yet outside corridors with natural ventilation. This building, along with a gymnasium structure built at the same time, is (as of December 2013) undergoing renovation by the Sarasota County School Board, which will reinstate the building’s 1958 exterior appearance but contain a completely new interior layout devoid of Rudolph’s original ideas.[6]

In the late 1950s, Paul Rudolph’s Florida houses began to attract attention outside of the architectural community and he started receiving commissions for larger works such as the Jewett Art Center at Wellesley College. He then took the chairmanship of the Yale Department of Architecture in 1958, shortly after designing the Yale Art & Architecture Building. Rudolph stayed at Yale for six years until he returned to private practice. He designed the Temple Street Parking Garage, also in New Haven, in 1961.[7]

While chair of the Department of Architecture at Yale, Rudolph taught Muzharul Islam, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, all attending the Master’s course as scholarship students. Foster in particular has noted the significant influence that Rudolph had upon him.[8] Rudolph was invited to Bangladesh by Muzharul Islam and designed Bangladesh Agricultural University.

He worked on the Milam Residence, which was designed and constructed between 1959 and 1961. It still stands today on Florida’s eastern coast, outside Jacksonville. Here, the only dimensional control was the size of standard concrete blocks that were used (8 x 8 x 16 in), fair-faced, for structural and partition walls alike. The large blocks provide shade for the windows, allowing the Florida home to be easily cooled. This house’s seaside facade of stacked rectangles exemplifies the sculptural nature of Rudolph’s work during this period. From inside the structure, Rudolf wanted the inhabitants to locate themselves according to mood, so the large two-story window in the living room contrasts other areas of the home which feel more cave-like and secluded. Rudolph’s fascination with European Modernism and the neo-Classical theory made this a difficult building to construct. Rudolph had to show concern for multiple influences as well as his own style. At the time, Rudolph was working independently and would later become an icon in European Modernism.[citation needed]

In 1958, Rudolph was commissioned to create a master plan for Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. He also collaborated with graduates of Tuskegee’s architecture school on the design of a new chapel building, completed in 1969.

He later designed the Government Service Center in Boston, First Church in Boston, the main campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (originally known as Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, and later as the Southeastern Massachusetts University), the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College, the Endo Pharmaceuticals Building, the Dana Arts Center at Colgate University, and the Burroughs Wellcome headquarters in North Carolina. His Shoreline apartments in Buffalo, completed in 1974, were pioneering low income housing, designed as part of a larger masterplan for the city’s waterfront that was never completed. [9]

While the Brutalist style fell out of favor in the U.S. during the 1970s,[10] 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, Texas, 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 located in the area near Admiralty Station of MTR in Hong Kong, and a culmination of Rudolph’s ideas in reflective glass. In Indonesia Rudolph-designed buildings can be found in Jakarta (Wisma Dharmala Sakti) and Surabaya (Wisma Dharmala Sakti 2).

Paul Rudolph donated his archive,[11] spanning his entire career, to the Library of Congress, as well as donating all intellectual property rights to the American people. His bequest also helped to establish the Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering[12] at the Library of Congress.

The Fullam Residence is an obscure commission designed in 1957, and built in 1959. It was never published in the Rudolph portfolio at the request of the owners, John and Alice Fullam House. In 2004, when they were contemplating moving, the owners became concerned over preservation of the house, reading that many Rudolph buildings were being destroyed. In 2007 it was sold to preservationist owners who did a major restoration addressing many of the modern code issues, in 2017 the third bay, that was part of the original 1957 design was completed .[13]

The Paul Rudolph Penthouse & Apartments (1977–82), at 23 Beekman Place in Manhattan, was designated a New York City Landmark in 2010.[14]

Rudolph died on August 8, 1997, at the age of seventy-eight in New York from peritoneal mesothelioma.[15]


Wisma Dharmala Sakti office tower, Jakarta

A portion of Riverview High School in 2007

The Art & Architecture Building (renamed Rudolph Hall in 2008) houses the Yale School of Architecture and is one of Paul Rudolph’s best known works.

John and Alice Fullam House, Fullam Residence completed in 1959, Wrightstown, PA. An obscure commission never published during Rudolph’s lifetime at the request of the owners.

Milam Residence, completed in 1961, just outside of Jacksonville, Florida, in the suburb of Ponte Vedra Beach

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Claire T. Carney Library

Early design for The Concourse office tower, Singapore

The Lippo Centre, 1987, by Paul Rudolph, landmark twin towers in Hong Kong

See also
Spaces: The Architecture of Paul Rudolph
Christopher Domin, Joseph King (2005). Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 26.
Deyan Sudjic (2010). Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture. Penguin.
David Colman (October 2011). “Master Builder: Architect Paul Rudolph’s career was as dramatic as his buildings”. Elle Decor. “Other issues contributed to Rudolph’s loss of status: the rise of postmodernism, which he hated; the end of enthusiasm for the ambitious government buildings he loved; the fact that he was gay in a predominantly straight industry.”
“Time Is Running Out for a Celebrated Building” by David Hay, page A19, June 21, 2008 The New York Times.
“Rudolph’s Riverview High School Demolished,” [1] DoCoMoMo (International working party for documentation and conservation of building sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement), July 11, 2009.
Rehab would alter Sarasota High’s open-air interior by Harold Bubil February 8, 2013 Herald-Tribune
New Haven Preservation Trust. “Temple Street Garage, 21 Temple Street”. New Haven Modern Architecture.
Sudjic, Deyan (2010). Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture. Overlook Press. ISBN 9781468302769.
Miller, Nick. “Five Paul Rudolph Buildings Under Threat in Buffalo”. Architects Newspaper.
“Architects: Brutalism”. Circa Design.
Paul Rudolph Archive. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Squier, Anna (2018-05-11). “A Paul Rudolph-Designed Midcentury Is Rescued From Obscurity and Finally Completed”. Dwell. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
Muschamp, Herbert (August 9, 1997). “Paul Rudolph Is Dead at 78; Modernist Architect of the 60’s”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
Bell, Eugenia (2019). Paul Rudolph: Inspiration and Process in Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 9781616898656.
Rohan, Timothy M. (2014). The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300149395.
De Alba, Roberto (2003). Paul Rudolph: The Late Work. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-56898-401-4.
Domin, Christopher; King, Joseph (2005). Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-56898-551-7.
Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl (1970). The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. Praeger. ISBN 0-500-09057-2.
Monk, Tony (1999). The Art and Architecture of Paul Rudolph. Wiley-Academy. ISBN 0-471-99778-1.
Mottalini, Chris (2013). After You Left They Took It Apart: Demolished Paul Rudolph Homes (1st ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Columbia College Chicago Press. ISBN 978-1-935195-45-0.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paul Rudolph.
The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation – an organization founded to preserve and protect Paul Rudolph’s work, to educate the public about the legacy of his philosophy, and to provide a gathering space for discussion of modern architecture.
The Art & Architecture of Paul Rudolph – a Flickr group dedicated to Paul Rudolph’s buildings – over 3,600 images from around the world
The Paul Rudolph Foundation – dedicated to furthering the preservation, knowledge and understanding of Paul Rudolph’s work.
Blog of Paul Rudolph related news maintained by the Paul Rudolph Foundation.
The Paul Rudolph and His Architecture Web Site
Paul Rudolph at
Paul Rudolph at
A Road Trip Back to The Future”; The New York Times: account by architecture critic of visits to Rudolph buildings within a day’s drive of New York area.
Rethinking Preservation: A Case for Paul Rudolph’s BCBS Building
Yale University School of Architecture Buffalo As An Architectural Museum: