May 5, 2009

With important architectural contributions by Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, Gordon Bunshaft, Phillip Johnson, and many other noteworthy architects, Yale University is no stranger to design. In fact, the school is often thought of as a sort of living museum of architecture. Today, this tradition continues. Not only does the University commission new buildings, they also have a healthy respect for their own history and constantly work to preserve their architectural landscape. So it's with one eye toward the past and one eye firmly set on the future that Yale University is stressing sustainable restorations and building practices. Four projects, in various stages of completion, embody this new and responsible approach to campus design: The restorations of the David S. Ingalls Rink and Stoeckel Hall, the recently built Kroon Hall, and the new sculpture studio and art gallery.

Kroon Hall at Yale.

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Designed in 1956 by Eero Saarinen, the swooping concrete roof of the Ingalls Rink has earned it the local nickname "The Yale Whale." The building is now in the final phase of a multimillion dollar restoration by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates that includes the addition of Low-E insulating glass and other changes designed to address the effects of the environment.

ingalls 1

Built in 1897, Stoeckel Hall was designed in an eclectic mix of styles that ranged from the Gothic to the Federal. Its renovation and new addition provides an expanded and up-to-date facility for the School of Music.

Although no drastic sustainability measures were taken, the new Stoeckel Hall is expected to achieve a LEED Gold rating. New fixtures, new ventilation strategies, the reuse of existing materials when possible, and clever construction management strategies all contribute to the building's rating. Says architect Richard Charney: "It has been both challenging and exhilarating to work on this project, at once preserving a historic structure—one that boasts a unique nineteenth-century facade in the city of New Haven—and creating a new and fully up-to-date facility.”

Kroon Hall at Yale.

The "ultra green" new building Kroon Hall</a> is the new sustainable feather in the University's cap. Housing the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the building uses 50% less energy than comparable structures and is expected to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. The school was sited and designed by Hopkins Architects of Great Britain to take advantage of passive heating and cooling and will use sustainable environmental systems when necessary. Other sustainable features include a 100-kilowatt array of photovoltaic panels, solar-heated water, a rain harvesting system, and the use of post-industrial recycled concrete mix as well as sustainably farmed wood from local forests.

p sculpture 11

Another recent sustainable additional to the campus is the Yale University School of Art. The 55,000 sq ft sculpture studio and 2,800 sq ft gallery is a beautiful integration of beauty, function, and sustainability. Contributing to these three characteristics—including the LEED Platinum rating— is the studio's triple-glazed curtain wall and accompanying sun-shading system. Native landscaping and a green roof frame the Kieran Timberlake-designed structure, which is kept comfortable by a displacement ventilation system. The sculpture studio has become a new center of activity for the School of Art.

Yale Sculpture Building and 736549
These projects are all part of Yale University's ambitious goal to create a fully "sustainable campus" (whatever that means these days) and a 43% reduction in university emissions by 2020. An admirable goal to be sure, but perhaps more important than that, these new structures continue Yale's tradition of architectural excellence. A campus with a deep sense of history that manages to adapt to change and express itself with an evolving architectural profile.

All photos are from the architects websites.

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