Paul Rudolph was one of the leading architects in America in the 1950s and 60s. His fame spanned the time between the eras of the so-called International School and Postmodernism. His architecture was noteworthy for its unique individual style evident in all his projects, including at UMass Dartmouth. UMass Dartmouth, which was originally called Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute (SMTI) is not one of the architect’s most well- known projects but it is one of the most significant. Here, he not only created a unified master plan on a completely empty site but also designed individual buildings and surrounding grounds as well. SMTI /UMass Dartmouth, considered ground-breaking in its day, remains a monumental achievement. Read more introduction
What in your opinion, are three of some of the greatest works of modern architecture and why?
I feel the Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoie [Poissy, France, 1929] demonstrated the sense of continuity of space, the unfolding space, in an admirable way. It also stated eloquently Le Corbusier’s feeling about man’s relationship to nature, which has proved to be prophetic.
I think that Mies van der Rohe’s 860 apartment houses in Chicago [ 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, 1948-1951] elevated the steel frame for the first time to the heights of great art, and because the steel cage is very American, such a building could be built only in the United States. That it has true significance. It must be noted, incidentally, that the steel frame is not what is actually shown, but only symbols of the structure are shown.
I think that Taliesin West [Scottsdale, AZ, 1937], of Wright’s, is a truly significant building because of the sequence of space which he has managed to achieve as well as the relationship to the site and the whole use of materials, the juxtaposition of the compression of the stone work and the flying quality of the trusses and beams. The light coming through the canvas. The whole manipulation of the natural light.
Interview with John Peter, 1959