Yale University Commercial Building+-

project name : Yale University Commercial Building

location : New Haven, Connecticut

year of design: 1999

client: Yale University

architect: George Ranalli

associates: Robert Silman Structural Engineer

design team: Mario Gentile, Price Harrison

Yale University commissioned a 3,500-square-foot commercial building on Broadway in New Haven as part of an initiative to repair the fabric of the downtown New Haven. Three sites were selected for projects by three different architects, located down the street from the 1920’s Sterling Memorial Library complex designed by James Gamble Rodgers. The formidable stone library is a grand building, with highly formal spaces at the center and less formal spaces as the complex approaches Broadway and York Streets. The commercial program of the new building includes retail shops on the ground floor, commercial office space above, and other appropriate venues.

The challenge was to find an architecture that would facilitate connections to the Sterling Memorial Library, while making a unique statement. The design, a 42-foot-wide by 42-foot-high building, begins with an investigation into masonry construction techniques that recapitulates the heft and weight of the precedent library buildings, and other historic architectural markers, in the vicinity. Multiple façade studies explored various ideas with masonry that would facilitate a dialogue with the main library. A metal-and-glass version was explored, at the client’s request. In the end, a limestone, copper, and mahogany-window version is selected as the appropriate design for a new building placed into a row of existing structures on Broadway.