Monday, February 16, 2009
The High Street "SigEp" House as its currently known on campus at Yale looks much the same from the front as it originally did in the 19th Century. And, like a mullet, this house was business in the front, and party in the back as Paul retained the street facade but added heavily to the rear.
As detailed in the joint issue PERSPECTA 9/10, edited by then-student, Robert A.M. Stern, the main design for the house transpired over a weekend and was a teaching tool to the students of what it takes to make architecture.
Rudolph made extensions to the rear, and carved up the interior to make room for his growing practice and living/party quarters- which included a fur-lined seating pit. After his departure from New Haven, the building changed hands a few times and was converted to apartments.
Through the various owners, and up until recently, many elements like the floating stairs were retained. A clearer example of which can be seen in Rudolph's Halston Residence on 63rd Street for the famous Fashion magnate.
Much like his 23 Beekman Place residence which would follow (and he would intervene into and out of for 30 years), this house was a work in progress and always up for alteration and innovation. The Foundation was quoted in the following article regarding the many recent changes and would like to clarify that the full statement made was that Paul would have probably made changes himself by now- it was in no way an endorsement nor condemnation of what the Fraternity chose to do.
Some four decades later, although the chances of finding an eccentric architect wishing for a studio and apartment and play space in New Haven are proportionately higher than most other cities in America, it is understandable that the changing program would necessitate alterations.
Despite several emails to Fraternity brothers, and in-person visits, we have remained unable to document the building prior to SigEp's alterations. The current look, all decked-out in Ikea, with "state-of-the-art" projection TV, as photographed by Calgary Leveen of the YDN is hardly recognizable as Rudolph's one-time home and can no longer be realistically considered as "Rudolph space".
Click to read the full YALE DAILY NEWS article.