Yale University Sculpture Building and Gallery

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Yale University Sculpture Building and Gallery
The Yale Sculpture Building and Gallery extends the University’s extraordinary arts district westward, forging altogether new urban relationships with the city at the edge of the campus. Situated on a former brownfield site, the new complex invites the city into and through the site while providing perimeter street frontage where none existed. A four-story glass studio building sits in the core of the perimeter block, with a one-story storefront gallery on the street frontage to the north. Adjacent to the studio building, on the west side, is a four-story parking garage with retail space on the ground floor. The gallery and parking structure reestablish the perimeter block, while the studio building acts as a lantern, illuminating the interior core. Mid-block pathways traverse the site in both directions, drawing pedestrians into this new complex at the campus edge. The east-west path through the site is planned as an outdoor sculpture garden that connects all the way back to Louis Kahn’s Yale University Art Gallery. The 2,800 square-foot sculpture gallery provides appropriately scaled street frontage adjacent to the historic houses along Edgewood Street. The gallery is clad in reclaimed wood to mimic the appearance of the houses, and the glass walls on the front of the gallery fold away to become an open porch. An interior underground ramp connects the gallery back to the entry lobby of the studio building. A sculptural steel stair zigzags from the basement to the fourth floor of the studio building, while landscaped terraces on the second and third floors provide views to the gallery’s green roof and the city beyond. The 51,000 square-foot studio building contains three floors of individual and group studios above ground and basement floors of classrooms, machine shops, and administrative spaces. Conceived as a loft to accommodate a range of artistic activities, the structure is an exposed steel frame. The columns and beams are all narrow eight inch wide flange sections, with beams lapping over girders in a simple yet eloquent woven pattern. Flexible light fixtures mounted to continuous tracks and fire suppression system piping contributes to this three-dimensional plaid assemblage of building systems. To maintain a transparent envelope without compromising the building’s high level of energy performance, a curtainwall made with transparent and translucent panels has been combined with an exterior sunshading system to reduce solar heat gain. The transparent windows are triple glazed, low-E glass, while the spandrel panels are aerogel-filled translucent panels within a glass frame. The result is an open structure in which daylight pours in through the perimeter walls, filling the interior with an even soft glow. When viewed in context with Yale’s gothic structures, the design is an elegant contemporary gothic fenestration derived entirely from the need to mitigate solar gain.

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