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Theory of Architectural Space


“We need desperately to relearn the art of disposing of buildings to create different kinds of space: the quiet, enclosed, isolated space; the hustling, bustling space, pungent with vitality; the paved, dignified, vast, sumptuous, even awe-inspiring space; the mysterious space; the transition space which defines, separates and yet joins juxtaposed spaces of contrasting character.

The Architect must be uniquely prejudiced.


“The Architect must be uniquely prejudiced. If his work is to ring with conviction, he will be completely committed to his particular way of seeing the universe. It is only then that every man sees his particular truth. Only a few find themselves in such a way.”
Rudolph, Paul Marvin, 1918-1997. "For Perspecta." Perspecta 7 (1961): 51-63.



On Gropius as a teacher

“Gropius’s greatest contribution was to introduce you to the International Style of the 1920s and 1930s and then to release you. Gropius may be wrong in believing that architecture is a cooperative art. Architects were not meant to design together; it’s either all his work, or mine.”
Rudolph quoted in: Jones, Cranston. Architecture Today and Tomorrow. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 175.

On the Blue Cross Building

"We’ve made an effort to make the mechanical system into something more meaningful than just keeping you hot or keeping you cold or keeping you dehumidified, or whatever it is. For instance, in this building the support of course comes from the bottom. But the mechanical system is like a great octopus, coming from the top, and encircles the whole building. The hot air and the cold air and the returns are outside the columns, and then the horizontal branches are clearly shown. So that this becomes like a great vine encircling the whole building."

On New York City, 1959

“We need sequences of space which arouse one’s curiosity, give a sense of anticipation, which beckon and impel us to rush forward and find that releasing space which dominates, which climaxes and acts as a magnet and gives direction. This is well illustrated by the Fifth Avenue entrance to Rockefeller Plaza, where one strides forward in anticipation of seeing the sunken court and its activities. Most important of all we need those outer spaces which encourage social contact, again well illustrated by Rockefeller Plaza, the best outdoor living room in America.”

The Means to an End

“One becomes conscious that there are many ways to organize a building; that structure is not an end, nor a beginning, but a means to an end-and that end is to create space that is an appropriate psychological environment. Perhaps the greatest chapel of this century, Ronchamp [Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Le Corbusier, 1954], has a most impure structure- sprayed concrete covers everything. It does not resort to the crutches of geometry and pattern-making, but creates breathing, dynamic spaces appropriate to human use.”

"It's Christmas Eve"


On the Stafford Harbor, Virginia Resort Project

“You very seldom work on an entire town, and this is the first time I’ve ever done it. The magnitude you’re dealing with makes for different concepts. In other words, an ant isn’t really designed as an elephant. It’s really quite a different thing. And that end I started with the site, from a purely visual, physical viewpoint. I really think of this as a continuation of the land.

Sarasota School of Architecture

“Paul was the catalyst. Where else could a young guy like me have lunch with people like Philip Johnson, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, or Talbot Hamlin who came to town to see Paul?”
Tim Seibert as quoted in: Berens, Carol. “What Modern Meant.” Echoes Magazine 9 (August 2000): 58.

On the Hook Guest House, Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL

“The first use, as far as I know, of bent plywood to span architectural space. The engineering involved was accomplished by trial and error, utilizing a few small boys jumping on various thicknesses of bent plywood in my backyard. The structure could be kept light by utilizing temporary cross tension members to get it through the hurricane season.”
Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New York: Praeger, 1970. p. 36.


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