Yale University Art Gallery
Monday 03 Jun 2013
The comprehensive renovation and expansion of the Yale University Art Gallery transforms the visitor experience of both the Gallery and its esteemed collections. The project unites the landmark 1953 Louis Kahn building (renovated in 2006) with Egerton Swartwout's 1928 Old Yale Art Gallery and Peter Bonnett Wight's 1866 Street Hall into a cohesive whole, enabling the Gallery to show a vastly larger portion of its collections than ever before.
While each of these buildings is of landmark quality, they could not be more different stylistically. The design celebrates these differences rather than diminishing them in a homogenous museum environment: in its specificity, the architecture is both sympathetic to the different collections but also reinforces them, promoting a synergy between architecture and art. The newly created three-building continuum enables the collection to be organized in a logical and continuous sequence in spaces that complement and enhance the art they contain. The placement of temporary exhibitions in a new rooftop structure atop the historic buildings draws the visitor through the encyclopaedic collection to the new suite of galleries and a new rooftop sculpture terrace.
The three structures have been returned to their original purity and integrity through restoration of the historic interior architectural elements and finishes and the historic facades of all buildings. Within, the reconfigured Gallery creates a state-of-the-art museum environment with the introduction of new stair and elevator systems to unify circulation patterns, upgraded mechanical systems and improved thermal performances of the exterior walls. Most importantly, the new additions and interventions have been designed to achieve equilibrium with the landmark historic architecture.
The overall design, both restoration and contemporary interventions, has a light footprint that allows the art to come to the fore.