The Lower Manhattan Expressway was revisited by architect Paul Rudolph in 1967: on show approximately 30 full-scale reproductions of drawings, prints, and photographs dated from 1967-1972. These works are shown together with a reconstruction of Rudolph's model of the LME project created by architecture students at The Cooper Union in conjunction with Rawlings Architects PC.
The Drawing Center announces the October 1–November 14, 2010 presentation of Paul Rudolph:
Lower Manhattan Expressway, organized in collaboration with The Irwin S. Chanin School of
Architecture of The Cooper Union. The Lower Manhattan Expressway (LME) was first
conceived by "master builder" Robert Moses in the late 1930s as an expressway running across
Lower Manhattan. The idea was revisited by architect Paul Rudolph in 1967 when the Ford
Foundation commissioned a study of the project. Had it been constructed, this major urban
design plan would have transformed New York City’s topography and infrastructure.
Approximately 30 full-scale reproductions of drawings, prints, and photographs dated from 1967– 1972 will be on public view for the first time in the Houghton Gallery at The Cooper Union.
These works from the Paul Rudolph Archive at the Library of Congress will be shown together with a reconstruction of Rudolph’s model of the LME project created by architecture students at The Cooper Union in conjunction with Rawlings Architects PC. Presenting the only records of Rudolph’s visionary proposal, this exhibition will illuminate Rudolph’s unique approach to architectural drawing and highlight the fundamental importance of drawing in his overall practice.
Rudolph’s proposal for the LME consisted of a Y-shaped highway running from the Holland Tunnel to the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges, using Broome, Delancey, and Chrystie Streets and the Bowery as the main corridors. The LME was one of the last large-scale urban planning initiatives in New York, building on the concept of the “megastructure,” which gained prominence throughout the 1950s and 60s. Rudolph envisioned an approach to city planning that would conceive of movement throughout a city as the most common shared experience; multi-use transportation networks would be integrated into one design that would replace plazas as the prevailing urban design element. Plans for the LME therefore included not only an underground highway but also elevators and escalators connecting to the subway system, living spaces, a moving walkway, parking lots, and shared public spaces.
Rudolph’s remarkably detailed sketches use single-point perspective, cross-sectional diagramming, and collage to illustrate every detail of the plans, from physical elements such as material and finish to more dynamic variables such as furniture, landscaping, and human activity. Using a trademark large-scale presentation technique, he brought hand-rendered two-dimensional sketches to life with a level of accuracy that has been compared to that of Victorian etchings. The exhibition design will integrate Rudolph’s innovative interior design sensibilities with his conceptualization of space; a selection of work will be presented in a freestanding modular display system that recalls the framework of his famed Lucite chair, designed in 1968. This exhibition is co-curated by Jim Walrod and Ed Rawlings, Principal, Rawlings Architects PC.
ABOUT THE ARCHITECT
Paul Rudolph (b. 1918, Elkton, Kentucky; d. 1997, New York City) studied architecture at Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn (now Auburn University), graduating in 1940. He continued his studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design with Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, earning his degree in 1947 after serving in the Navy between 1943–46. After completing his degree, Rudolph moved to Sarasota, Florida, establishing his own firm in 1952 and remaining there until 1957. He was the Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University from 1957–65. In 1965, Rudolph left his teaching post and established his office in New York City. Rudolph completed numerous residential, governmental, and cultural projects during his career, notably the Jewitt Arts Center at Wellesley College (1955) and the Art and Architecture Building at Yale University (1958).
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Ed Rawlings is an architect who has worked in New York City for the last 22 years. A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he led several award-winning projects, including Dance Theater Workshop, The Roosevelt Island School, and the pedestrian walkway canopies at Newark Liberty International Airport. In the Fall of 2005, Rawlings Architects PC received a New York City AIA Housing Design Award for The Dance Building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The firm’s recently completed hotel project, Thompson LES, was published in 101 Cool Buildings: The Best of NYC Architecture 1999–2009 in October 2009.
Jim Walrod is a self-taught interior designer who began his career at the age of 16 as an assistant to the design director of Fiorucci in Manhattan. He went on to open a series of influential furniture and design stores in the same city, including Form and Function with partners Fred Schneider of the B-52’s and Jack Feldman. Walrod’s collaboration with Andre Balazs resulted in the Standard Downtown hotel in LA. His more recent design work includes The Park restaurant; Colors restaurant—operated by the former employees of the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center; Steven Alan Annex stores; and Gild Hall and Thompson LES hotels in New York City for the Thompson Hotel Group. Walrod has consulted on interiors for architects Jean Nouvel and Richard Gluckman, in addition to independently designing numerous private residences.
Saturday, October 2, 2:00pm
Guided walk-through with exhibition curators Jim Walrod and Ed Rawlings
Saturday, October 23, 2:00pm
Lower Manhattan Expressway Walking Tour
Ian Volner, writer, critic, and publicist, will lead a walking tour that follows the route of the nevercompleted Lower Manhattan Expressway. Tying together major figures from the 1960s including Mayor Lindsay, community activist Jane Jacobs, and Paul Rudolph, the hour-long tour will begin at the southwest corner of Canal Street and Bowery at 2:00pm and will conclude at the steps of The Cooper Union in the East Village.
Ian Volner’s articles on architecture and design have appeared in Architectural Record, Architect, and n+1, among others. As account executive at Susan Grant Lewin Associates he has helped direct public relations campaigns for numerous design firms including Rafael Viñoly Architects and Gwathmey Siegel & Associates. He holds a Bachelor’s in the Theory and History of Architecture from Columbia University and a Master's in the History of Art from the Institute of Fine Arts. In collaboration with architectural historian Matico Josephson, Ian is working on a book about the politics of architecture and urban planning in New York City during the administration of Mayor John Lindsay (1966–1974).
Thursday, November 4, 6:30pm
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
Presented with the Forum for Urban Design and the Paul Rudolph Foundation, panelists Donald H. Elliott, Alexander Garvin, Ed Rawlings, and Jaquelin T. Robertson will reflect on the sociopolitical climate that fueled what would have been the largest intervention into Manhattan in a generation, and discuss the lessons learned and the role that mega-structures play in a modern day metropolis.
Donald H. Elliott is a 1957 graduate of New York University School of Law. He served as counsel to Mayor John V. Lindsay and then as Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission from 1966 until 1973. Elliot was partner of Webster & Sheffield until 1990, then Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon until 1995; Hollyer Brady Smith & Hines until 2007; and is now of Counsel to Butzel Long. He has served as Chairman and a member of the Board of Long Island University, as well as a member of the Boards of National Grid, WNET/Channel 13, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Hospital Corporation, and The Independence Community Bank.
Alexander Garvin has combined a career in urban planning and real estate with teaching, architecture, and public service. He is currently President & CEO of AGA, and was formerly Managing Director of Planning for NYC2012, New York City’s committee for the 2012 Olympic bid, and Vice President for Planning, Design, and Development at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. He has held prominent positions in five New York City administrations, including Deputy Commissioner of Housing (1974–1978) and City Planning Commissioner (1995–2004). Garvin is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management at Yale University, where he also he teaches two graduate courses in the School of Architecture. His book, Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, will be published in November of 2010.
Jaquelin T. Robertson, FAIA, FAICP, architect, urban planner, and educator, is a partner in the New York City-based firm of Cooper, Robertson & Partners. He was founder of the New York City Urban Design Group, the first Director of the Mayor’s Office of Midtown Planning and Development, and served as a New York City Planning Commissioner. He also served as Dean of the School and Commonwealth Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia. He has taught at Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, The New School, The Salzburg Seminar, and Yale University. His work has been widely published and exhibited at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has been the recipient of numerous awards such as the New York City Parks Council Award (1972); the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture (1998); Driehaus Prize (2007), and the Athena Prize from the Congress of New Urbanism (2010). Robertson received his B.A. and M. Arch. from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford.
To accompany the exhibition, The Drawing Center will produce a new volume in the Drawing Papers series. The publication will feature an essay by the exhibition curators, full-color plates of the works in the exhibition, and photographs of the reconstructed model. Available October 2010.
Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway is made possible by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency. Additional support is provided by Hester Diamond and Anne H. Bass.
ABOUT THE DRAWING CENTER
The Drawing Center is the only not-for-profit fine arts institution in the country to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. It was established in 1977 to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists; to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history; and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and culture.
ABOUT THE COOPER UNION
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a distinguished private college of art, architecture and engineering founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, an inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. Since its founding, all admitted students have received full-tuition scholarships.
Image: Final presentation rendering of multi-use office and residential towers at the HUB, c. 1967-1972. Color slide. Courtesy of the Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
For further information and images, please contact
Emily Gaynor Public Relations and Marketing Officer 212 219 2166 x119 | email@example.com
Opening reception Thursday, September 30 from 6-8pm
The Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, 2nd Floor
Hours: Monday–Friday 12–7pm, Saturday 12–5pm (Closed Sunday)