Most museum expansions these days are disasters architecturally and in other ways. It is a pleasure, therefore, to report on a triumph at Yale. The Yale Center for British Art was Louis Kahn’s last building. It opened in 1977, three years after Kahn’s death, and was instantly acclaimed a modernist masterpiece. Nearly forty years on, it was in need of facelift. The New Haven architect George Knight did a masterly job of restoring the building, bringing it back to a state of pristine elegance while quietly updating its infrastructure. When one looks around at other contemporary museum projects—the travesty that is Met Breuer, for example, or the monstrosity that is the new Whitney Museum of American Art—one is grateful for this subtle and deferential work of architectural recuperation.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 10, on page 3
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