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On one of his earliest memories of architecture

"Paul Rudolph was about six. Like Frank Lloyd Wright’s, his father was a preacher- Southern Methodist, and forever on the move from one parish to another. A new church building was in the offing at the time, and he grew up with memories of the architectural drawings which had been scattered about:

"What, then, are the criteria that you would use in teaching?"


"You go back to age-old principles. I think there are definite and definable theories on how to relate volume to volume, mass to mass, texture and scale; the relationship of a building to the ground, to the sky, to neighbors. I really believe that you can define X number of approaches. The problem is to see that the approach is consistent, that each component part belongs to the same family of ideas."
Barnett, Jonathan. "Paul Rudolph Cites Old Principles as Bases for Analysis of Today's Work." Architectural Record 131 (January 1962): 12.



Philip Johnson on Paul Rudolph

"Rudolph and I never could keep up the same quality of conversation because Rudolph is an artist. That really, I suppose, has been his problem throughout life. He is a real artist. He knew what he wanted, knew what shapes he wanted. And he was more interested in those than he was in the – although there’s nothing wrong with his intellect. He’s a great teacher, as you know. Oh, my God, you were his student, weren’t you? But somehow you wouldn’t put him in that class of intellectural."

Architecture of the Possible


"Mies was wonderful when he was asked how he went about designing the Seagram Building [1957-1958]. He said he read the New York City Building Code. I think that's an absolutely accurate and marvelous answer. It's what all of us do. You have to know what's possible. Architecture is not a question of the purely theoretical if you're interested in building buildings. It's the art of what is possible."
Rudolph, Paul Marvin, 1918-1997. "Interview with Paul Rudolph.". Ed. Robert Bruegmann. Chicago: Department of Architecture, Art Institute of Chicago, February 28, 1986.

How Drawings Work

"I try to find a graphic means of indicating what’s happening to the space. Space can move quickly or slowly. It can twist and turn. Space extends the dynamics of any building, because if the thrusting and counter-thrusting of the spaces aren’t balanced, then people feel unstable, the building doesn’t feel harmonious."
Zinsser, John. "Staying Creative; Artistic Passion Is a Lifelong Pursuit - and These Mature Masters Prove the Point. (Otto Luening, Elizabeth Catlett, Paul Rudolph)." 50 Plus 25 (December 1985): 55.


“All architecture is, for me, a matter of participation of the human being – contrary to what a lot of people have had to say. I regard it as memorable space. It must be acoustically and visually rewarding. You should be aware that you have arrived at a room where theater is going to take place. You ought to feel you’re absolutely at the same level as the performance. I don’t think it can be just any old room; it needs to be a breathing, dynamic thing.”
The Changing Practice: Theaters." Progressive Architecture 46 (October 1965): 160-220.

They said it


“Less is more.” Mies van der Rohe;

“Much ado about next to nothing” Frank Lloyd Wright;

“Almost nothing is too much.” Reyner Banham;

“Less is a bore.” Robert Venturi;

“Too much is never enough.” Morris Lapidus;

“More and more, more is more.” Rem Koolhaas;

“Nothing ever measures up to what I expect, nothing.” Paul Rudolph

Bangladesh (Formerly East Pakistan) Agricultural University

"It was during that time [mid 1960s] that Rudolph was offered a job doing the East Pakistan Agricultural University in what is now Bangladesh. He had done some preliminaries for it, but had not gotten very far. He was getting busy. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it. He asked me about it. I said I thought it was important to do it – to do a good job. He signed a contract, I think kind of reluctantly. I think he really did it because he thought it would be good for me. We started working on it. ...Rudolph never saw it.

The demolition of Riverside High School designed by Paul Rudolph began on Saturday, June 13, 2009. Click below for news coverage.

"That summer that I graduated, that I got my Bachelor’s degree, I started to work for a firm in Birmingham, Alabama, and indeed worked for them for the whole year. It wasn’t until this time that I discovered that I did not know really how to put materials together, or how to make working drawings. This came as a rude shock to me. I wanted to design, but I was not fully equipped to design. It affected me tremendously. I remember that year I could hardly talk, literally, for a whole year. But I did learn, as I look back on it, more during that year than any other single year.

SMTI / UMass Dartmouth

“From my viewpoint the idea of the campus is that the spines are there and that they might be fleshed out in many different ways, but that the principle of it being one building, i.e. connected, and that the spaces in between are thereby formed on a relatively large scale. You see, I am back to the Piazza San Marco which doesn't have a tree in sight, and all buildings are literally connected with all other buildings, and there are many different uses, and there is focus, a tremendous sense of space, and scale. It remains the greatest outdoor living room in Europe, I believe.


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