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Contemporary Architect Practice, New York, USA
27 Oct 2011
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SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE PRESENTS
GWATHMEY SIEGEL: INSPIRATION AND TRANSFORMATION,
EXAMINING KEY PROJECTS BY THE INFLUENTIAL FIRM
14 Nov 2011 – 27 Jan 2012
The 2011-12 Yale School of Architecture exhibition program continues on November 14, 2011, with Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation. This is the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects (Charles Gwathmey `62 M. Arch), which practiced for over forty years and was one of the most influential architecture firms of the modern period.
With original architectural drawings, sketchbooks, reproduced drawings, models, photographs, and slide shows, Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation examines the close relationship between art and architecture in eight residential and institutional projects designed by the firm.
Gwathmey Residence & Studio, Ground Floor Axonometric, c. 1965 Digital reproduction on mylar, 36 x 36 in. Gwathmey Henderson Architects/Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects:
photograph : Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives
The exhibition was organized by the Cameron Art Museum, in Wilmington, North Carolina, where it was on view in 2009. It was curated by Douglas Sprunt, former adjunct curator of architecture and design at the Cameron. The Yale showing has been organized by Brian Butterfield, director of exhibitions at the School of Architecture.
The School of Architecture’s presentation of the exhibition coincides with the arrival of the Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects records at Yale University Library’s Department of Manuscripts and Archives, to which they were donated by Charles Gwathmey’s widow, Bette-Ann Gwathmey. There they will join a significant collection of primary source material documenting modern and contemporary architectural practices, including records from the firms of Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, Cesar Pelli, and Robert A.M. Stern, among others.
Charles Gwathmey (1938–2009), who was the only child of noted Social Realist painter Robert Gwathmey and photographer Rosalie Hook, spent a year studying architecture under Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania. He then moved to the Yale School of Art and Architecture, where he studied and worked under Paul Rudolph. Following his 1962 graduation from Yale, he was awarded a Fulbright grant to research the work of Le Corbusier in Europe.
Robert Siegel (b. 1939) studied architecture at the Pratt Institute and received a master’s degree in 1963 from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
The two men first met as students in New York City’s High School of Music and Art, and years later reconnected while working in the office of Edward Larrabee Barnes, in New York City. Buoyed by the success of the house and studio Gwathmey designed for his parents in Amagansett, New York, (1965–67) after he left Barnes’s practice, they went on to found their own practice in 1968.
Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation focuses on five transitional projects:
• the Gwathmey House and Studio, designed by Gwathmey after leaving Edward Larrabee Barnes’s practice, and immediately embraced as an important example of a distinctly American Modernism;
• the de Menil Residence, in East Hampton, New York (1983), in which the relationship of the house to its site—or of object and frame, as the architects stated—is evident throughout, from the way the house was adapted to its long, narrow beachfront site, facing dunes and sea, to the smallest interior detail;
• the Bechtler Residence, in Zumikon, Switzerland (1993), a critical project in the development of Gwathmey Siegel’s practice, and a residence in which the visitor’s first experience is a gallery for the patrons’ extensive art collection;
• Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland (2006), a residence and museum in which art, architecture, and the natural environment join to create an active yet contemplative experience; and
• the renovation and restoration of Yale School of Architecture’s Paul Rudolph Hall (formerly known as the Art + Architecture Building), which restored the integrity and spirit of the building, and the addition to it of the Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art (2008), which respects the earlier building while nonetheless asserting its own identity.
Other institutional projects included in the exhibition are the restoration and renovation of Whig Hall, Princeton University (1973); the addition to the Fogg Museum, Harvard University (1991); and the Guggenheim Museum renovation and addition, New York City (1992).
In addition to materials related to specific projects, Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation includes artifacts and documents from the personal collections of the architects. These include such items as Gwathmey’s scrapbook from his family’s tour of Europe, in 1949–50, and his Fulbright Grant notebook, from 1962–63, as well as a selection of his student work—unique to the School of Architecture presentation—that reflects the time he spent at Yale studying under Paul Rudolph. These and other personal materials enhance the exhibition’s focus on the role of artworks in specific projects by revealing some of the broader cultural currents at play in American modernist architecture.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a lecture by architect, critic, and historian Kenneth Frampton, titled “Gwathmey Siegel: Form and Counterform.” This will be held on Thursday, November 17, at 6:30 pm in the School’s Hastings Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Yale School of Architecture Gallery
The Yale School of Architecture Gallery is on the second floor of Paul Rudolph Hall, located on the corner of York and Chapel Streets (entrance on York), in downtown New Haven. Exhibitions at the Gallery are free and open to the public. Hours are Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm; Saturday, 10 am–5 pm. The Gallery is closed on Sunday. For additional public information, visit www.architecture.yale.edu and click on “events.”
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More projects by Gwathmey Siegel online soon
Location:New York, USA ‘