NEW HAVEN, CT.- This academic year is an exceptionally rich period at Yale for those interested in the work of Eero Saarinen (191061; Yale `34), one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. Fall 2009 marks the opening of the renovated David S. Ingalls Rink, while the renovation of Samuel Morse College is well under way and that of its companion, Ezra Stiles College, is set to begin in spring 2010. Finally, the landmark exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future concludes its tour at Yale in February 2010.
In addition to three Saarinen-designed buildings, Yale is home to the Eero Saarinen Archive. This contains original drawings, correspondence, photographs, and other materials that were donated to the Universitys library in 2002 by Saarinen colleague Kevin Roche, as well as the papers and records that had previously been given to the library by the architects wife, Aline Saarinen. It is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Eero Saarinens papers in the world.
David S. Ingalls Rink
The renovation and restoration of David S. Ingalls Rink was completed in early October 2009. Informally known as the Yale Whale, thanks to its signature humpbacked roof and arching 300-foot backbone, this iconic building was designed by Saarinen in 1956 and opened in 1958. It is a masterpiece of architectural and sculptural form, and one of the most visually arresting buildings of our time.
The multifaceted restoration and enhancement of Ingalls Rink, carried out by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, bring Saarinens original intentions back to life. The work includes upgrades to the original structures lighting, seating, and ice surface, and restoration of its wooden benches and exterior doors, as well as the creation of a 12,700- square-foot underground addition containing locker rooms, offices, training rooms, and other facilities, and new landscaping around the building.
Morse and Stiles Colleges
The second of Saarinens two projects for Yale comprised two residential colleges Samuel Morse and Ezra Stiles Collegesconceived as a single design and intended to be radically different in style from the other Yale colleges. Completed in 1962, the 250,000-square-foot complex houses 500 undergraduates, as well as masters, deans, and faculty members. Yale has begun a comprehensive renovation of all facilities in the stone-andconcrete buildings, along with improvements to the surrounding landscape, all while retaining Saarinens original aesthetic. Undertaken by the Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake, this work includes a major renovation of student residential space, the upgrading of common rooms, the addition of new food-service facilities, and the renovation of the Colleges dining halls and libraries.
In addition to the work on existing facilities, the project includes new below-ground space that provides a range of student amenities, as well as mechanical and electrical rooms. Shared by both Colleges and accessible by stair and elevator from each, the addition will center on a landscaped courtyard at basement level. Other landscape improvements and additions include a water capture-and-storage system and a new outdoor dining terrace.
Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future
In February 2010, the Saarinen-related projects described above will come full circle, as the exhibition Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future concludes its tour at the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale School of Architecture, where it will be on view from February 19 through May 2, 2010. Organized by the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York; the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki; and the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., with support from the Yale School of Architecture, this is the first major museum retrospective of Saarinens career, exploring more than fifty of the architects projects, both built and unbuilt.
The 2002 donation of the Eero Saarinen Archive to the Yale University library was a milestone in the creation of the exhibition, as scholars and students were for the first time able to examine drawings, letters, and other materials pertaining to some of the post-World War II eras most important architecture. On the occasion of the donation, the University organized both undergraduate and graduate seminars, and previously unpublished and forgotten projects were discovered. A two-day symposium at the Yale School of Architecture in April 2005 provided the first public description of this new research.
Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future includes never-before-exhibited sketches, working drawings, models, photographs, furnishings, films, and other material, drawn from various archives and collections. It opens a window onto the architects innovations in the use of new materials and construction techniques and reveals his rejection of the dogma of orthodox modernism in favor of letting the subject and site guide his design solutions.