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Restored Yale landmark set to reopen

December 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, CONN. — Yale University, famous for its Gothic buildings, is showing off a newly restored jewel that marked the beginning of its modern era.

The university has completed a $44-million restoration of the main building of its art gallery that was designed by architect Louis Kahn, who designed the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The Chapel Street building, which opened in 1953, was Yale's first modernist structure and marked a radical break from the campus' largely neo-Gothic character.

It was also Kahn's first masterpiece, acclaimed for its bold use of space and light, highlighted by a spiraling staircase and a huge glass wall that spans the entire side of the building.

The restoration is part of a $500-million, 10-year plan to improve and expand Yale's art buildings, university President Richard Levin said. Other projects include a new art history building and restoration of the School of Art and Architecture, another modernist icon by Paul Rudolph.

The Kahn building, which will reopen to the public Sunday, now has more exhibition space to show off recently acquired pieces. The gallery, the oldest college art museum in the country, has more than 185,000 pieces dating to ancient times.

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