Paul Rudolph

(b. Elkton, Kentucky 1918; d. 1997)

Paul Rudolph was born in Elkton, Kentucky in 1918. He graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute and studied under Walter Gropius at Harvard. After graduating in 1947, he entered into a five-year partnership with Ralph Twitchell in Florida. When this partnership ended, Rudolph practiced by himself in Boston, New Haven, and New York.

Rudolph acted as Chairman of the Department of Architecture at Yale University from 1958 to 1965. During this same period, his office worked on an immense and diverse volume of work. Since 1952 he has worked on commissions in America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East.

In his designs, Rudolph synthesizes the Modernist ideas of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis I. Kahn. He uses sweeping monolithic forms and intricate interior spaces to create a powerful sculptural quality.

Rudolph has displayed an interest in the problems of urban design and completed a succession of unexecuted projects. Preoccupied with the notion of an industrialized "plug-in" city, he has devised schemes in which mobile residence pods are plugged into a steel frame which connects to mechanical and electrical services.

Rudolph's work exhibits a highly personal and uncompromising style. Although his works qualify as part of the Modern Movement, he has questioned the validity of the movement's precepts in his later works.

The work of Paul Rudolph produced a remarkable series of buildings, many of them of concrete poured into shapes so complex that users were both exhilarated and mystified, often at the same time. When he died in 1997, he was lauded as a homegrown talent who had adapted the ideas of European modernists — like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe — into a uniquely American body of work.

The Orange County Government Center in Goshen is one of his most prominent buildings in the Hudson Valley, NY.

Rudolph’s earliest buildings are in and around Sarasota, where he worked in the 1950s after studying architecture at Harvard and serving in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. His final works are in Singapore and Hong Kong, where he was welcomed after falling out of favor with American developers. But much of his midcareer output is in the Northeast and Manhattan, Rudolph’s home for decades.

The largest of Rudolph’s works in the United States is the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, in southeastern Massachusetts, built in the 1960s, after Rudolph’s tenure of six years as dean of the Yale architecture school.