2023–24 Building Conservation Project

The Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) has closed to the public to implement the next phase of conservation of its iconic modernist building, designed by Louis I. Kahn (1901–1974). The project will focus on exterior improvements, including the replacement of the museum’s roof and skylights, as well as significant upgrades to the gallery lighting system. The YCBA will reopen in 2025 with a reconceived installation of its collection.

The skylights and gallery lighting are original to the building, which opened to the public in 1977. The renovation will realize a replacement of the more than 200 domed Plexiglas skylights, which are an integral element of Kahn’s design. The replacement domes will fortify the building’s envelope, improve performance, and enrich the building’s signature rooftop, a feature referred to as the fifth elevation.

The museum will also invest in a more sustainable, energy-efficient lighting system, made possible, in part, by generous funding from the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative. Over the past two years, the museum’s conservators, curators, and technicians worked closely with the architectural and engineering consulting firm EwingCole to evaluate the current lighting and to design a replacement lighting system. The new gallery lights will allow for the use of LED bulbs rather than the current halogen lights. The transition from halogen to LED lighting will achieve a substantial reduction in energy consumption.

Onsite access to the Archives, the collection, Reference Library, and Study Room will be by appointment only. Museum Shop offerings will continue to be available for purchase online through the museum’s website.

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Yale Center for British Art skylights, photo by Stephanie Anestis