Building Conservation Project
The Yale Center British Art is temporarily closed to the public to implement the second phase of its interior conservation project. It is scheduled to reopen in spring 2016.
From now through May, the construction team will refurbish the fourth-floor galleries, renewing the carpet and wall coverings. In addition, fire protection and security will be improved, and the exterior walls will be reinsulated. Later stages of the project will involve major improvements to the Lecture Hall and significant upgrades to the Center’s infrastructure. The improved Lecture Hall will not only have a state-of-the-art projection system and improved lighting but also newly installed handrails, increasing accessibility.
All planned changes will be made in accordance with a ten-year study conducted by the London architects Peter Inskip and Stephen Gee, with the Center’s Deputy Director, Constance Clement. The results were published in 2011 as Louis I. Kahn and the Yale Center for British Art: A Conservation Plan, a book that examines the Center’s iconic building, designed by Kahn, and proposes a series of policies for its maintenance in the years ahead.
“Though we regret closing our doors, we are truly excited by this conservation effort, which will benefit all our visitors,” said Center Director Amy Meyers. “We are fortunate to work with a team of professionals with a profound dedication to this project and are looking forward to welcoming the public back in 2016 to this very special building, which will have been improved in significant ways.”
The project is led by George Knight of Knight Architecture LLC, Yale’s Office of Facilities, and Turner Construction Company. Knight, who earned his master’s in architecture from Yale, has expressed a deep personal connection to the Center. “What I find so gratifying is the chance to work on what has always been one of my favorite buildings in the world,” said Knight. “The Center is unique in that it represents a kind of culmination—a refined, restrained culmination—of a number of ideas that had been percolating in Kahn’s mind for a long time. It’s incredible to have a chance to work on a building that is so beloved to me on so many levels and to do so in a way that allows me to better understand one of America’s greatest architects at a very mature moment in his career.”
“This is the most extensive building project to take place since the Center opened to the public in 1977,” said Clement. “The refurbishments to the building will enable visitors to see the collections in new ways. For instance, our Long Gallery on the fourth floor was intended for objects to be hung from floor to ceiling in a very dense hang. It hasn’t been hung that way for more than fifteen years. We will be reverting to the way it was envisioned by the architect.”
Check back to follow the progress of the conservation effort throughout the year as well as to learn about research and other activities happening behind the scenes.
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