Yale University Art Gallery Renovation and Expansion

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Yale University Art Gallery Renovation and Expansion

The Art Gallery renovation and expansion design celebrates the stylistic distinctions of three historic buildings and weaves them into a cohesive museum environment dedicated to the display of art. The design reinvigorates the Gallery, showcasing its encyclopedic permanent collection and rationalizing the museumgoer’s experience.

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Above all, it is about enhancing the experience of viewing art. The design prioritizes sequence, pace and context to orchestrate a smooth progression through the galleries, while leaving room for the unexpected discovery of works resurfaced.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner
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For the first time in its history, the Gallery occupies all three buildings – Street Hall (Peter Bonnett Wight, 1865), the Old Yale Art Gallery (Egerton Swartwout, 1928) and the iconic Louis Kahn building (1953) – and thus is able to showcase significantly more of its permanent collection at one time than ever before.

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Circulation has been rationalized and completed by the addition of a new elevator and stair in Street Hall. The stair and elevator were designed in a contemporary idiom using glass and steel to provide a deliberate counterpoint to the surrounding historic architecture.

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The design allows the visitor to engage the art in a continuous, chronological sequence or to encounter the art serendipitously. Variety in the character of spaces strategically complements and enhances the art contained within.

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Further reinforcing the integration of the buildings, a new rooftop structure links the Old Art Gallery to the fourth floor of the Kahn Building and provides a suite of new special-exhibition spaces.  The addition is pulled back from the building façade, a rooftop terrace is added, and the integrity of the historic structure is preserved.

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The thermal performance of the exterior walls and windows of the two older buildings has been upgraded, new mechanical systems provide greater temperature and humidity control, and the historic masonry façades of both buildings have been restored.

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New Haven, CT
97,000 GSF
Permanent Galleries, Temporary Exhibition Gallery, Sculpture Terrace, Renovation of Gallery Space


Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, Duncan Hazard, Joseph Fleischer, Lloyd DesBrisay, David Tepper, Jane Lin, Todd Van Varick, Kevin Krudwig, Charmian Place, Gary Anderson, Kingman Brewster, Jeffrey Geisinger, Margaret Gorman, Brad Groff, Gihong Kim, Christopher Lewis, Nathan McRae, Adam Mead, Kenichiro Mito, Dona Orozova, Michael Regan, Setu Shah, Paul Stanbridge, Frederick Tang, Akari Takebayashi, Jordan Yamada
Photography / Videography
Elizabeth Felicella, Christopher Gardner, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Spirit of Space/Small Stuff


  • 2013
    • Award of Excellence, American Institute of Architects, New York State
    • Silver Award of Merit, Society of American Registered Architects/New York Council
    • Special Mention, Architizer A+ Awards
    • Honorable Mention: Best Museum, Travel + Leisure Design Award


  • 2019
  • 2013
    • Cambell, Robert. "In Design, Yale University Art Gallery Leads by Example" (The Boston Globe, 1/26/2013)
    • Ross, Cathy P. "Yale’s New Masterpiece" (Connecticut Magazine, 1/4/2013)
    • Russell, James S. "Yale Gallery’s $135 Million Expansion Reveals Riches" (Bloomberg, 1/8/2013)
  • 2012
    • Cotter, Holland. "Where Opposites Attract" (The New York Times, 12/13/2012)
    • "Yale University Art Gallery Renovation" (Arch Daily, 6/9/2012)
    • Heintz, Molly. "Space and Time Expanding at Yale Art Gallery" (Architect’s Newspaper A/N Blog, 5/15/2012)
    • Schieldahl, Peter. "Boola Boola" (The New Yorker, 12/17/2012)
    • Smee, Sebastian. "Yale University Art Gallery is a masterpiece" (The Boston Globe, 12/13/2012)
    • Wei, Lilly. "Yale University Art Gallery Reopens to Acclaim" (Art in America, 12/21/2012)
  • 2009
    • Vogel, Carol. "On Again at Yale" (The New York Times, 9/17/2009)