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On Tracey Towers, Bronx, NY

“In Tracey Towers, the exterior walls are not curved for structural reasons at all, but because the site plan and traffic movement dictated an easing of the corners. They are also curved in order to lead the eye around the towers, thereby emphasizing their three-dimensionality. They are also curved because they give a heightened sense of security to the occupants of a very high building, and one looks out and sees these walls, which seem like huge columns, closely rising from the ground.

On his early career

“When I first started, I made guest houses because no one would trust me with the main house.”
Cook, John Wesley. Conversations with Architects : Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown. New York: Praeger, 1973. p. 94.

On Sarasota High School

“The second Sarasota High School was a move from clear form, from clear structure, from lineal structural elements defining space, to the organization of planes in space. It depends much more on the space and the handling of light, which really meant planes rather than linear elements, which in turn commenced my investigations into scale… I’m affected by everything I see. I make no bones about it. I haven’t invented anything in my life. For instance, the entrance to the Sarasota High School can be traced directly to Corbusier’s High Court Building in Chandigarh.”

On SMTI / UMass Dartmouth

“The central organization of this campus is purposely a moving, or dynamic, one. That’s the very nature of what is needed, as I see it. When one gets beyond the spiraling mall, with its defining buildings, walks, terraces, plantings, etc., then other architects will take over, and indeed they already have. In that sense, I’ve thought of it as similar to Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia, wherein he made a fixed, well-defined, marvelous central core for the campus. But, beyond the core, other architects took over, building very inferior structures.

The Cart Before the Horse

“Everybody, in my view, puts the cart before the horse. It is identifying the problem first which is the job of the architect, and then how well he solves those problems. People talk infernally about style, which I regard as total nonsense, to be quiet frank about it. Society, in general, establishes what the problem is, not the architect. Then it’s up to the architect to solve that. The great problem in the United States is that we still haven’t learned how to build cities, or make peace with urbanism on any level.

On the Burroughs Wellcome Building

“This complex climbs up and down a beautiful ridge in the green hills of North Carolina and is architecturally an extension of its site. An “A frame” allows the greatest volume to be housed on the lower floors and yet connected to the smaller mechanical system at the apex of the building. The diagonal movement of interior space opens up magnificent opportunities. Anticipation of growth and change is implicit in the concept.”
Paul Rudolph in Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New York: Praeger, 1970. p. 233.

Keeping a Clear Head

"I realize that infatuation is the most dangerous thing in the world. That sometimes you fixate on something and you can’t get it out of your system until you realize how bad it really is. It’s true with me anyway. I think it’s true with most architects, as a matter of fact. And, that your judgment sometimes leaves you. One has to keep a really clear head if one is going to be an architect. You can only be carried away by that which really works. Not only physically, technically, and functionally and so forth, but as a work of art. That is really difficult; you have to keep a clear head.

Government Service Center, Boston, MA


"I wanted to hollow out a concavity at the bottom of Beacon Hill, a spiraling space like a conch in negative relation to the convex dome of the State Capitol on top of the hill. I wanted it to wrap around a tower which turned and was not only visible in its upward thrust but penetrating visibly below the ground."
Black, Carl John. "A Vision of Human Space: Paul Rudolph: Boston State Service Center." Architectural Record 154 (July 1973): p. 106.



What is most satisfying

“On the other hand, you asked me what is most satisfying, for me personally, of my work. I have to confess, I go back to some of the earliest things that I worked on, partially because there are many differences between a guest cottage and what you call a mega-structure. You’re more likely to be in control of your guest cottage than you are the mega-structure for very many reasons. Finally, if you haven’t slipped into too many conceits, then the smaller project is more likely to be more pure in terms of your intentions.

On the Deane Residence, Great Neck, NY


"a series of unfolding modules"

"The steps broaden as you go down, like widening ripples on the water's surface."

The jutting forms of the bedrooms, the library and the kitchen meet to create a central space that resembles a village square. That is the living room."

"The form of the house on the slope has the look of a man-made hill."

"In many ways, this is a tree house."

Israel, Frank. "Architecture: Paul Rudolph." Architectural Digest 35 (June 1978): p. 90, 94, 97, 99.


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