Paul Rudolph is undeniably one of my favorite architects, and one of the most unrecognized Modernists. I first became aware of Rudolph’s work while visiting Sarasota, Florida. There are numerous examples of his work built between 1948-1960, still standing in Florida, although some of his important projects have been torn down.
Educated at Alabama Polytechnic Institute and Harvard Graduate school under the chairmanship of Walter Gropius, Rudolph incorporate many of his modernist lessons into his design but took things a little further. His time spent working as a naval architect at the Brooklyn Navy Yard introduced him to many new materials and technologies. His Florida work was a reaction to the regional climate and the natural surroundings. Pre-air conditioning, Rudolph used material and technology and clever design in a way that architects today could still learn from.
In his work he incorporated many mechanisms of climate control, including ventilated concrete walls, internal patios, large overhangs, breezways and pavillions, wooden shutters, sunshades, sliding screen panels, recessed and louvered windows, and site plans that allowed breezes and shade. His use of innovative and local materials, included steel reinforced masonry, which resisted termites, moisture, heat and hurricanes, local cypress beams, Ocala block, and shell concrete and terrazzo.
While some of Rudolph’s work is being celebrated, such as the rededicating of the Yale Art & Architecture building, much of his work is in danger. His Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida was recently demolished, and an elementary school in Middletown, NY is in danger of being torn down. To read more about saving this school go to The Paul Rudolph Foundation website: www.paulrudolph.org. Or to sign the petition to save click here.
Below are some favorite examples of Rudolph’s work.