"Rudolph was a master of sculpturing light and space, following in the footsteps of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose emotionalism he married to the cool Modernism of Europeans like Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier." 

-   Michael Kimmelman of the NY Times


Paul Marvin Rudolph, Modernist Master



Early Life - Paul Marvin Rudolph was born October 23, 1918 in Elkton, Kentucky. His father was an itinerant Methodist preacher, and through their travels Rudolph was exposed to the architecture of the American south.


Education - Rudolph earned his bachelor's degree in architecture at Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute) in 1940 and then moved on to the Harvard Graduate School of Design to study with Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. After three years, he left to serve in the Navy for another three years, returning to Harvard to receive his master's in 1947.



Sarasota - He is one of the modernist architecture architects considered part of the Sarasota School of Architecture. Following his studies at Harvard, Rudolph moved to Sarasota, Florida, and partnered with Ralph Twitchell for four years until he started his own practice in 1951. Rudolph's Sarasota time is now part of the period labeled Sarasota Modern in his career.

Yale - While Dean of Yale Architecture School, Rudolph taught Norman Foster, Charles Gwathmey, Richard Rogers, and Stanley Tigerman all attending the Master's course as students. Foster in particular has noted the significant influence that Rudolph had upon him.



Modernist - “I’m compelled: I have no choice about certain combinations of forms, material, space, or architectural considerations. They egg me on.”


His Influence -

"Mr. Rudolph wielded enormous influence over the direction of American architecture at mid-century. His buildings, often executed in concrete with a textured finish that resembled corduroy, were widely studied and imitated.

At the same time, and partly in reaction to his influence, the school became a hothouse for younger architects who wanted to break out of the modernist mold Mr. Rudolph had helped to form." -- The New York Times Aug. 9, 1997

Threatened projects - Currently, the Orange County Government Center is threatened with destructive changes which would make the center unrecognizable. World-wide outcry has not been able to stop the closed minded county executives from their intended architectural vandalism.

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Links to what others have to say about Paul Rudolph ...

On Goshen
On Paul Rudolph
Modulightor Open House Schedule
The Modulightor Building at 246 East 58th Street and The Vision of Paul Rudolph
North Carolina Modernist Houses is the website for Triangle Modernist Archive, Inc.- a nonprofit educational archive documenting, preserving, and promoting Modernist residential architecture. They claim to be the most complete open digital archive for Modernist houses. The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation recommends their MASTERS GALLERY as the most up-to-date index of Paul Rudolph designed residences.
— North Carolina Modernist Houses
“The Architect as Urbanist: Part 1
The late work of Paul Rudolph deserves renewed attention.”
— Robert Bruegmann is an historian of architecture, landscape and the built enviroment
UMass Dartmouth, considered ground-breaking in its day, remains a monumental achievement.
— Browse "Paul Rudolph & His Architecture" research at UMass
Carl Abbott, FIAA on The Rudolph Years: Yale and the World
— Yale University’s “Paul Rudolph Celebration.” 2008
Paul Rudolph: Metaphors, Paradoxes, Contradictions and Abstractions
— Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA (Brooks + Scarpa Architects) 2009
Paul Rudolph was well known for his graphic virtuosity: his dramatic perspective drawings set the mid-century standard for clarity, drama, and the ability to compel interest. Late in his career, Rudolph was approached by Arthur Drexler, the Director of the Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture & Design Collection. Drexler asked him to contribute drawings to the museum’s holdings, and was allowed to go through Rudolph’s files to make a selection for the permanent collection. The drawings chosen are excellent representatives of the various phases of Rudolph’s career, as well as exhibiting his superb drawing abilities.
— Rudolph’s Drawings, in the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Modern Art
Throughout his work, Paul Rudolph showed a deep interest in construction materials, and always sought for opportunities to use them in practical, innovative, and often dramatic ways. While Rudolph explored and built with many materials, his middle-to-late career is most closely associated with the expressive use of concrete. This article, from Concrete Construction magazine, speaks of construction methods used in his buildings.
— Paul Rudolph and Concrete as a Construction Material
Paul Rudolph’s earliest work was in Florida, particularly in the Sarasota area. There, he designed some of the freshest and most innovative houses of the post World War 2 era. His work of that period, and the work of several other Modern architects in that region, are sometimes referred to as the “Sarasota School”. The Michael Kalman Foundation, in association with the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, is offering Paul Rudolph Scholarships to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in either a Bachelor of Architecture program or in a Masters of Architecture program in the state of Florida.
— The Paul Rudolph Scholarship
flickr hosts The Art & Architecture of Paul Rudolph
— Over 6000 photos from over 500 members
The Library of Congress
— The largest archive of Paul Rudolph with about 90,000 items.
Like many master architects, Paul Rudolph strove to communicate the basic principles upon which his work was done. An excellent collection of his writings and speeches (with a forward by Robert A. M. Stern), has been published by Yale University Press. It is titled Writings on Architecture, and includes recently discovered archival materials and many previously unpublished photographs.
— The Writings of Paul Rudolph