Sunday, January 28, 2007

One foreign architect in Singapore

Of the many foreign architects that have bestowed Singapore with mediocrity, I thought that one particular architect didn't do too badly - Paul Rudolph, the influential dean of Yale School of Architecture in the heady 1960s who personally taught a generation of architects that included Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Robert Stern.

Paul Rudolph, standing against the textured wall
of his Yale School of Architecture building.

Rudolph's controversial Yale School of Architecture renovation marked the demise of brutal modernism, and the advent of what came after-- post-modernism. When the prevailing mood of denied him of commissions in the West, Singapore (and Hong Kong and Jakarta) gave his high modernism a chance to materialise. Today, Paul Rudolph's late work in Southeast Asia is considered to be his most mature. I am posting pictures here of his significant imprints on Singapore's urbanscape.

The Colonnade, Singapore

Perspective drawing drawn in pencil

The Concourse, Singapore

Perspective drawing of an earlier iteration of the Concourse.
(from the MoMA, New York drawing collection)
Click on photo to enlarge

The Art Institute of Chicago recorded the oral history of Paul Rudolph and interviewed him in 1986 regarding his late work in SE Asia, especially in Singapore. In his interview, Paul Rudolph offers a lot of comments on his experience of building in Singapore, as well as his issues with Singapore's building code/by-laws. A pdf transcript of this interview can be obtained at this site. It is definitely a compelling read.