Architects in Conversation: To Build for Art | Annabelle Selldorf

March 31, 2022

Annabelle Selldorf, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Principal of Selldorf Architects, in conversation with Deborah Berke, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. 

Series description

Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) is widely recognized as one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. During his distinguished career, Kahn designed three museums: the Yale University Art Gallery (1953), his first significant commission; the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (1972); and the Yale Center for British Art, his final building, which was completed after his death and opened to the public in 1977. Notable for his basic geometric forms, muted palettes of natural materials, and galleries filled with diffuse daylight, Kahn created simple yet elegant environments for viewing works of art. His distinctive modernist style, as well as his singular architectural philosophy of how interior space is defined by the interplay of structure and light, continues to influence how architects approach museum design.

Join us for lively and inspiring discussions with architects who, like Kahn, have designed spaces intended for the display of art. This series explores the multifaceted role of museum design in the context of contemporary concerns, with speakers considering the aesthetic, practical, historical, and ethical implications of how architecture influences the way we experience art.

About Annabelle Selldorf

Selldorf is a German-born architect and principal of Selldorf Architects, a seventy-person architectural design practice she founded in New York City in 1988. Selldorf received a bachelor’s in architecture from Pratt Institute and a master’s in architecture from Syracuse University. She is a Fellow of the AIA. 

The in-demand architect designs gallery spaces, museums, and homes for artists and collectors. Her approach to design has been described as restrained and understated elegance. Current projects include the redesign of the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, London, and the expansion and renovation of The Frick Collection, New York. Other projects have included a renovation of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; David Zwirner 20th Street Gallery, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and a new greenhouse and renovation of the historic greenhouse at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC. In addition, Selldorf Architects has created numerous galleries for David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Gladstone Gallery among others, and designed exhibitions for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Frieze Masters, Gagosian Gallery, and the Venice Art Biennale. 

Selldorf serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Chinati Foundation, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2014 was the recipient of its prestigious Award in Architecture. In 2016, she received the AIA New York Medal of Honor and in 2021, she was recognized as a design leader by Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture Awards. Selldorf has taught at Harvard and Syracuse universities and is a frequent guest lecturer and juror. 

This program is presented through the generosity of the Terry F. Green 1969 Fund for British Art and Culture.