The Yale Center for British Art: a Building Conservation





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


The Yale Center for British Art was designed by acclaimed American architect Louis I. Kahn to house a collection of British art on the campus of Yale University. The Center, Kahn’s third and final museum building, was designed between 1970 and 1974 and opened its doors to the public in 1977. By 2002 it was evident that the building was fast approaching a crossroads: finishes had reached the end of their lives, program space was in desperate demand, patron amenities and life safety measures no longer met contemporary standards and, worst of all, infrastructural systems strained to sustain the environments demanded to protect the collections. The integrity of Kahn’s architecture was in jeopardy. What follows is the story of what came next: how the building was painstakingly researched and analyzed, and how a series of projects ensued to re-equip the Center to present and protect its collection for decades to come.

How to Cite

Knight, G. (2018). The Yale Center for British Art: a Building Conservation. Docomomo Journal, (58), 50–59.




Author Biography

George Knight, Yale University

(b. 1967, USA). AIA, B.A. Princeton University/ M. Arch., Yale University. He is the principal of Knight Architecture LLC, architects for the Yale Center for British Art Building Conservation Project (2008-2016). Since 2004, he has taught design and visualization at the Yale School of Architecture.


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PROWN, Jules David, The Architecture of the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, London, Yale University Press, 1977.

SCULLY, Vincent, “Louis I. Kahn and the Ruins of Rome”, MoMA Members Quarterly, Summer, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1992.

TYNG, Alexandra, Beginnings: Louis I. Kahn’s Philosophy of Architecture, New York, Wiley-Interscience, 1984.