Foster and Partners recently completed a nondescript piece of architectural ho-hum on Yale's New Haven campus—an extruded glass box with a predictable floating roof. Even the interior courtyard’s potentially interesting, curved glass is repressed by an orthogonal, boxy, and flat plane of grass. It is the kind of building that only Foster could deliver, and only for an institution as intellectually conservative as the Yale School of Management.
However, Lord Foster is an alumnus of the Yale School of Architecture, making him the latest in a long lineage of architects to design for their alma mater. The buildings range from the iconic, such as Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink at Yale, to the almost insultingly boring, such as Venturi’s laboratories at Princeton. This makes us wonder if the most interesting thing about these projects is that the architect graduated from the school, but we'll let you be the judge. Here are 10 buildings by architects on their formers schools' campuses.
Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners
1. Norman Foster, School of Management, Yale University, 2014
Edward P. Evans Hall is Foster’s latest work, and rivals his Apple Headquarters in its lack of contextual sensitivity and watered-down tastefulness.
Photo courtesy of Chronicle of Higher Education
Often referred to lovingly as “The Whale,” Saarinen’s rink directly influenced the architecture of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo by Kenzo Tange.
Photo courtesy of marvelbuilding.com
Richards Medical Center is considered a seminal Modernist work, and the MoMA had an exhibition dedicated to it in 1961.
Photo courtesy of Harvard GSD
Gund Hall has a “yard”, where students can play basketball and have picnics.
Photo Credit: Brad Feinknopf
A stunning piece of campus architecture, the design features a bunker-like concrete dome that is used for communal activities, such as critiques and exhibitions, on the bottom floor.
Photo Credit: Rory Hyde
The project sports large, brightly colored letters that say “Wynn Commons,” and a huge, highway-sign-like UPenn shield. Venturi still proclaims when touring the project “It’s not vulgar enough!”
Photo courtesy of Bustler
While not nearly as brash as Graves’ infamous and now threatened Portland Building, the Engineering Research Center is designed to resemble an engine.
Photo Credit: Peter Aaron/Esto
8. Kieran Timberlake, Sculpture Building and Gallery, Yale University, 2007
The Sculpture building is very sustainable, with all the bells and whistles.
Photo courtesy larryspeck.com
One of VSB’s later works, this building is a study in patterning.
Rendering courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro
10. Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Business School, Columbia University, in progress
Henry Kravis and Ronald Perelman donated $100 million each to get this project going.