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Paul Rudolph: NYC Expressway

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One of New York's last large-scale urban planning initiatives, the Lower Manhattan Expressway, never came to pass. The massive transit system would have irevocably altered the face of New York City, but as an exercise in megastructure, it still manages to impress. Up at the Cooper Union, and put on in conjunction with the Drawing Center, Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway shows one of our great mid-century architects grappling with this massive bits of infrastructure. The show runs from October 1 through November 14th and shows nearly three dozen drawings, prints, and models from Rudolph's never built plans for the LME. Stop into the show if you can, but if you're like me (homebound in San Francisco) flip through this slideshow to get a sense of what Rudolph--famed in part for his New Haven, Connecticut, parking lot--had in mind for a highway.

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  These Gateway buildings would have flaked the approach to the LME from the Williamsburg Bridge. 1970. Photographic Print, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    These Gateway buildings would have flaked the approach to the LME from the Williamsburg Bridge. 1970. Photographic Print, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  Low rise buildings dominate this sketch. 1970. Graphite on paper, 14 ½ x 24 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    Low rise buildings dominate this sketch. 1970. Graphite on paper, 14 ½ x 24 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  This colorful diagram shows intersecting transit networks. 1970. Graphite and color pencil on paper with taped overlays of the same, 24 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    This colorful diagram shows intersecting transit networks. 1970. Graphite and color pencil on paper with taped overlays of the same, 24 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  This aerial view gives a sense of the scope of the project as it would have bisected downtown Manhattan. 1970. Photographic Print, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    This aerial view gives a sense of the scope of the project as it would have bisected downtown Manhattan. 1970. Photographic Print, 11 x 14 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  These vertical towers were meant to be housing as you approach the Williamsburg Bridge. 1970. Brown ink on paper, 29 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    These vertical towers were meant to be housing as you approach the Williamsburg Bridge. 1970. Brown ink on paper, 29 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  For all the techy grandeur of Rudolph's sketches, I think I most love this drawing of a crane and delivery truck. 1970. Red pencil on paper, 15 ½ x 34 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    For all the techy grandeur of Rudolph's sketches, I think I most love this drawing of a crane and delivery truck. 1970. Red pencil on paper, 15 ½ x 34 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  Rudolph favored A-frame structures to the roadway. 1970. Graphite on paper with graphite-on-trace overlay, 36 1/4 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    Rudolph favored A-frame structures to the roadway. 1970. Graphite on paper with graphite-on-trace overlay, 36 1/4 x 50 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
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  This perspective drawing shows a section of the LME as it would have been between Broome and Spring Streets. 1970. Ink and graphite on paper, 30 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
    This perspective drawing shows a section of the LME as it would have been between Broome and Spring Streets. 1970. Ink and graphite on paper, 30 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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