New Haven Kunsthalle

Critic: Mario Gooden

The New Haven Kunsthalle is a joint venture between Yale University and the City of New Haven, and is dedicated exclusively to contemporary art. Due to its very nature of not owning a permanent collection, a kunsthalle houses a highly-varied and ever-changing collection of artifacts that in many cases have different display demands as well as unique conceptual and aesthetic characteristics.
The site is located on York Street just south of Chapel in an area that includes the Yale Art Gallery, the Center for British Art, the Yale School of Architecture, the Yale Repertory Theater and the Yale School of Art. The proximity of these institutions defines the immediate cultural and physical context for the Kunsthalle.
The studies begin with a reconsideration of what constitutes the site, the particular focus being on an idea of overlap, spatial and programmatic, that is already at work in the Arts district of downtown New Haven.
These overlapping conditions occur over the course of time and across physical allocations, where programmatic elements have a dynamic temporal relationship to each other. A language of lateral striation is used not only to structure the organization of the complex into three bars of varying degrees of privacy but also to maximize the potential for cross-grain activity.
The reading of overlapping zones also reinforce an understanding of the non-linear nature of one’s experience of the exhibitions. The spatial character of the building is complementary to the ever-changing character of contemporary art, through material layerings and lighting strategies.