In 1961, Paul Rudolph was hired by the State of Connecticut to design an addition to the juvenile detention center located in Bridgeport Connecticut. Like many other small projects designed by Mr. Rudolph, it was unmentioned in the press that was focused on his Art & Architecture building still under construction.
With Rudolph busy working in the office above his residence a few blocks from Yale's construction site, he continued to design and build structures located throughout the Northeast that were doomed to obscurity once the press discovered his brutalist masterpiece upon its completion in 1963.
Despite being overshadowed, the buildings are no less examples of Rudolph's explorations of space and structure. 1961 included a host of small projects lost over time, reduced to a title on a project list - often without location or construction status. A parking manager's office for the Temple Street garage in New Haven (a model of which was created for an exhibit at Yale); a Fraternity house which currently sits vacant at Auburn University.
These projects represent the part of Rudolph's career during which he was melding the materiality of Yale's A&A with the rigorous spatial and structural geometries left over from his time in Florida. The work treads between the lightness of the Sarasota School and the ruggedness of bush-hammered concrete. The buildings were caught between the two points of his career that would define Rudolph's reputation - and as a result they got lost in the process.
Like all architects, not every work is considered worthy of publication. Rudolph was no different - in his many project lists found in the archives of the Paul Rudolph Foundation, the addition to the Juvenile Detention Center appears on only some of them. If the result was not to his satisfaction (which happened often to Rudolph) he would remove his name from it and strike the project from his curriculum vitae.
The Paul Rudolph Foundation is in the process of surveying and filling in the blanks regarding these projects (in addition to the more celebrated ones). Occasionally we find that buildings were built and Mr. Rudolph decided not to publicize them for one reason or another. In other cases, we find photos or drawings of projects that were never built but discover the reason for their remaining "projects".
The project known only as the "Addition to a Juvenile Detention Home" was in fact built, but in the process of finding more information we learned that its days are numbered.
A new juvenile detention facility was was designed by Jeter Cook Jepson/Ricci Greene Associates and completed by Turner Construction in 2008. The new building is down the road from the original facility, which is located at 790 Fairfield Avenue. According to a story in the local Fairfield Weekly.com the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center is,
a facility that has operated as temporary housing for troubled youths from throughout the area for over 50 years. The campus, located on Fairfield Avenue, consists of 10,000 square feet with 28 beds, an all-purpose room and an outdoor activity yard.
The conditions, says Superintendent Kathy Vernon, offer tight quarters for the youths calling this place a temporary home. Vernon says the all-purpose room is where kids eat, attend classes and hang out when not in their cells, which reveals just how outdated the current facility has become. "We need to be in a better facility for our children," she says.
According to reports, the state had approved funding for a new facility as early as 1990. Now that the new center has been completed, the future of the original building with Rudolph's addition is up in the air.