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Paul Rudolph Designs At Tuskegee

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Av was at Tuskegee University last month for a conference, and they met in the Paul Rudolph-designed chapel.  I've been on the campus many times but never inside the chapel, so I was really excited to see:

Tuskegee University Chapel

The original intent was to build the chapel out of concrete.
Tuskegee University Chapel


Tuskegee University Chapel

I wish he had taken a thousand other pics, because the building (built 1967-69) has a lot of architectural interest -- one being the lack of exact right angles.  Besides Paul Rudolph, a firm led by John A. Welch and Louis Fry, who were former Tuskegee faculty members, worked on the plans.

Paul Rudolph, besides work on the chapel, had been commissioned in the late '50s to produce a master plan for the campus, which was not implemented.  He did a master plan revision in 1978.

Also inside are reproductions of the stained glass 'Singing Windows' that had in 1932 been installed in the original chapel (built 1896-98, burned 1957).

From the Tuskegee website: "It has been described as "one of the remarkable structures designed for any college in the United States and abroad."


The Chapel has long served as the center of campus for religious, cultural and intellectual gatherings. Guest speakers for both the original as well as the present chapel have ranged from U.S. Presidents, foreign heads of the state, and other persons of note, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Martin Luther King , Jr. Currently, the Chapel serves as the home of the famed Tuskegee University "Golden Voices" Concert Choir."


Also: the chapel isn't the only Paul Rudolph -designed building on campus.  The Kresge Center and the Chappy James Aerospace Science and Health Education (below) buildings are his, too.
General Daniel "Chappie" James Center for Aerospace Science and Health Education

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Paul Rudolph lived for a time in north Alabama; he graduated from Athens High School there then graduated college from Auburn.  I'll post pics of another of his designs soon.

After WWII, where he worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he attended Harvard where he studied with Walter Gropius (think: Bauhaus) and had I.M. Pei and Philip Johnson as classmates.  Later on, he practiced in Florida, then eventually became chair of the Department of Architecture at Yale.

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Postscript (7/31): I got a hilarious email today about how I mistakenly spelled I.M. Pei as I.M. Pie in my first version of this post, even though I know better!!  Southern girl, indeed.  Sometimes I feel like I.M. Pie!

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