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Architect Paul Rudolph

Paul Rudolph medium-wide shot"Architecture is a personal effort, and the fewer people coming between you and your work the better. This keeps some people from practicing architecture...If an architect cares enough, and practices architecture as an art, then he must initiate design; he must create rather than make judgments." -- Paul Rudolph (1918-1997)

Paul Rudolph was the architect responsible for UMass Dartmouth’s original master plan and the design of most of the buildings on campus.

Born in 1918 in Elkton, Kentucky, Rudolph graduated from the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1940 and in 1941 began advanced studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. His studies were interrupted by World War II and three years of service in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Rudolph returned to Harvard, where he studied with renowned architect Walter Gropius. After a decade of success designing private residences primarily in the South, Rudolph began to receive commissions for larger public projects and in 1958 was named chairman of the department of architecture at Yale University. It was here that he designed one of his most famous works, the Art and Architecture Building, which was completed in 1963.

Rudolph left Yale in 1965 to open his own firm, continuing to design inventive and original buildings for both the public and private sectors. Like many architects of the period, he believed that urban design could contribute to social reform.

Rudolph’s work exhibits a highly personal and uncompromising style, and his buildings are designed to excite and challenge its occupants. The strong vertical striations are obtained with either ribbed-block or ribbed wood forms. Lively and rugged, his buildings are often made from exposed concrete surfaces. The rough texture is achieved by hammering away at the poured concrete to expose the inner aggregate. The interiors are dynamic, playing with light and shadow, drama and abstraction. Beams slide past vertical supports; walls are de-emphasized. Built-in furnishings enhance and divide the spaces.

Credits

This website about architect Paul Rudolph was created by students in Management 365, a business class taught by Prof. Matt Roy. Working in small groups, students select and work on a project that benefits the community.

Students in this group were Glenn MacGarvey and Gabrielle Dion (content), Paul Szwaja (HTML coding), and Nick Molina (design and layout). Glenn and Gabrielle attended the April 2005 “Paul Rudolph and the Architecture of UMass Dartmouth” symposium offered by the University Library; much of the information on these pages was gained at that symposium.

Photos are courtesy of the university’s PhotoGraphics and Publications departments.

Special thanks to acquisitions librarian Bruce Barnes, who chaired the Rudolph symposium and is embarking on his own major research project on the architect, for his assistance in checking the facts on these pages.

For more information about Paul Rudolph, visit the Paul Rudolph Foundation or search for information about him in the university library's online catalog, Voyager.

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