Tags: paul rudolph
As a part of of our ‘Rethinking Preservation’ project for Neutra’s Cyclorama in Gettysburg, we designed a graphic for our ‘Network’ scheme. The graphic has been used nationally by various organizations as rallying tool to gain supporters for the preservation of modern buildings.
Can preservation be transformative? This was the central question in Chris Novelli’s master’s thesis at the Boston Architectural College. With CUBE serving as Chris’ thesis advisor, he set out to examine the possibilities of existing buildings, infrastructure, and landscapes if relieved of the curated formal constraints imposed under the U.S. Department of Interior Standards for Preservation. He selected Paul Rudolph’s heroic parking garage in New Haven, Connecticut as a fitting laboratory for his experiments.
Above competition winner: RMJM with Diane Lewis Architects and Beckelman + Capalino, LLC in association with Seibert Architects
Paul Rudolph’s famed Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida has now been demolished to make room for a parking lot. The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) won a reprieve in 2008 from the School District to find a viable design and financial alternative that met the School District’s objectives and preserved this significant modernist work. While the competition yielded great ideas from well-known talent, it was not enough. Rudolph’s Riverview High School was demolished in June 2009 – images may be seen on the Save Riverview blog.
What if we thought of preservation through the ideas of artist Gordon Matta-Clark?
What if we thought of preservation through the act of demolition?
What if we integrated a building into new development?
What if we expressed a building’s ideas and concepts through anatomical exhibition?
What if we re-inhabited a building by dissecting it?
What if we treated a building as public art?
What if we distribute remnants of a building to plazas and museums?
What if we move the building from its site?
Could we use degrees of preservation to educate?
Could we better heighten awareness of a building’s original value in an altered state?
Could we increase the perceived value of design in the public consciousness?
Could we preserve our cultural heritage while embracing our future?
In 2007 Paul Rudolph’s 1960 Blue Cross Blue Shield office building was slated for demolition to make way for New England’s tallest tower by Renzo Piano. Intrigued by the collision of new and old, CUBE set out to explore alternative forms of preservation and to help resolve the preservation vs. development conflict. The development plans have since been shelved due to the economic downturn, but we quickly realized this was not an isolated problem.
The legacy of Rudolph’s building lies mainly in its innovative facade that contains the mechanical and structural systems; thereby freeing the interior floor space for office use. Drawing from the work of artist Gordon Matta-Clark, we hypothesized a series of concepts that reinterpreted preservation as: integration, anatomical exhibition, dissection, public art and remnant in the form of an animated video. In doing so, we revealed aspects of the building that prompted a new understanding of its cultural contributions, and began a new dialogue about how architecture should be preserved in the modern age.
Blue Cross Building Cultural Significance:
1) Pushes architectural invention forward by rethinking mechanical integration:
– Created a vertical ventilation system on the building facade, making it one of the earliest precursors to the high-tech modernism style.
– Pushes pre-cast concrete panel technology forward to respond to new systems integration.
2) Rethinks the office building space plan:
– Creates maximum interior space flexibility by pushing interior columns and ventilation system to the facade.
3) Political response against the International Style and for context:
– Responding against the flat reflective-glass and steel towers of the International Style, Rudolph set out to create an expressive three-dimensional facade with more humanely scaled window proportions derived from neighboring buildings of the time. The building is the only one among its neighbors to offer public space at the ground floor.
4) A transitional building in the work of architect Paul Rudolph: his first tall building, and the first modernist building in downtown Boston.