Yale School of Management Edward P. Evans Hall, New Haven (USA) Architect: Foster + Partners
Offering a high transparency level in the heart of the traditionally closed Yale College, the new building presents a sixteen ovoid volume structure around a central courtyard.
Inaugurated in January 2014, this building assembles under one roof different services in former times scattered in various areas. The Yale University has a symbolic value for Norman Foster. That is where, in the Jonathan Edwards College, he obtained, in 1962, a Master in Architecture, after graduating in Architecture and Urbanism at the Manchester University. « As a former student it’s a great honour to design a building for the Yale campus, and to be next to such eminent architects as Paul Rudolph and Louis Kahn, he adds. The learning doesn’t only take place in the classrooms but also in the social spaces and the coffee shops where relations take shape. I wish it will become an enlightening place to study, which can inspire the future generations of company managers. »
With its row of high and thin columns along the entrance façade, the deeply modulated glass curtain wall and its overhanging roof, the Edwards P. Evans Hall includes a variety of social spaces mainly concentrated on the ground floor: a coffee shop, a media library and a big communal hall open on the courtyard. The first floor assembles the 300 student classrooms in sixteen enormous « barrels », with double height and a deep blue coating, visible through the glass façade. The ovoid geometry unfolds towards the glazed sides undulating around the courtyard. Enlivened by organic form furniture, this zone facilitates the daylight and directs the student and professors flow through the adjacent circulation area, encouraging spontaneous gatherings. These circulation areas, in former times secondary, are very much appreciated nowadays. Today, the university campus favours these small group-meeting places as architectural expressions of a flexible organization centered on technology.
A 350-seat auditorium also keeps a visual link with the outside courtyard. In the background of the transparent building, the second floor forms a mezzanine giving many views on the building’s different levels. A semi-circular hall provides a flexible space for 80 persons, linked to a curved terrace open on the landscape. Thanks to its high performance envelop, its ventilation system and the solar protection, which considerably reduce the energy demand, the building aims to obtain the LEED Gold environmental certification.
Photos © Chuck Choi