Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Another hidden gem in New Haven is The Yale Center for British Art. It is free public art museum and research institute that houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. Presented to the university by Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929), the collection reflects the development of British art and culture from the Elizabethan period onward. Admission is free!
A masterpiece architecture by Louis I. Kahn. The Building alone is worth making the trip and I think it is the Center’s greatest treasures. Opened to the public in 1977, the Yale Center for British Art is the last building designed by the internationally acclaimed American architect Louis I. Kahn. The structure integrates the dual functions of study center and gallery, while providing an environment for works of art that is appropriately elegant and dignified. The building stands across the street from Kahn’s first major commission, the Yale University Art Gallery (1953). Located in downtown New Haven, the Center is near many of the city’s best restaurants, theaters, and shops.
More about the architect:
In his bio it is mentioned that Louis Isadore Kahn was born into a poor Jewish family in Pärnu, formerly in Russian Empire, but now in Estonia. He spent his early childhood in Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa, then part of the Russian Empire's Livonian Governorate. At the age of three, he saw coals in the stove and was captivated by the light of the coal. He put the coal in his apron, which caught on fire and seared his face. He carried these scars for the rest of his life.
In 1906, his family emigrated to the United States, as they feared that his father would be recalled into the military during the Russo-Japanese War
He was a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. From 1957 until his death, he was a professor of architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kahn created a style that was monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings for the most part do not hide their weight, their materials, concrete, wood, metal, or the way they are assembled. Famous for his meticulously-built works, his provocative proposals that remained unbuilt, and his teaching, Kahn was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. He was awarded the AIA Gold Medal and the RIBA Gold Medal. At the time of his death he was considered by some as "America's foremost living architect."
In 1974, Kahn died of a heart attack in a restroom at Penn Station in Manhattan. He had just returned from a work trip to India. Owing to police miscommunications in both New York City and Philadelphia, his wife and his office were not notified until two days after his death.
I wonder if my other favorite architect Tadao Ando who was self taught, was influenced by Louis Kahn. Tadao Ando worked as a boxer and a truck driver before settling on the profession of architect, despite never having formal training in the field. The Chichu Art Museum is a museum built directly into a southern portion of the island of Naoshima in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan is definitely worth making a special trip to Japan.