The Weird Wonderful World of Yale Architecture

The city of New Haven contains any number of fascinating, strange buildings. Many of them owned by the monolithic Yale University. And because of that, many of them are impenetrable fortresses: sealed from the outside, and available only to those with privilege and Yale ID’s.

For many years, I remember walking by Rudolph Hall (the name of the building itself), with its towering, bush-hammered concrete, and thinking, “What in the Hell goes on in there?”

Then, they hired me. BIG mistake.

(Not really, please keep employing me.)

The building itself is a strange maze with over 30 different levels, and almost three years after working here, I am convinced I have still not unlocked all of its secrets.

But today, Dear Reader, I will take you on a visual journey through the building, and the mysteries I have unlocked so far. I hope you enjoy it, cause I really need this job.

The Stairs

The main stairwells are sort of comically narrow and the concrete is foreboding, but at least you get some weird art.

After all, when isn’t a good time to stop and admire some architecture? Between floors 5 and 6 is the perfect time!

There’s even this huge multi-floor panel thing on the bottom floor that I can’t quite figure out how to take a picture of.

Wooo boy, all this walking probably has you pretty tired. Why not have a nice seat? Luckily, like most stairwells, this one comes with inexplicable seating areas. Rest up before we hit the 7th floor, it’s a doozy.

The rear stairwell also has a foreboding feeling, as well as a hole in the middle so you can see straight down and consider the choices you’ve made thus far in life.

There’s also some open-air landings where students definitely don’t smoke cigarettes and definitely aren’t super gross.

Hastings Hall

In the basement of the building, Hastings Hall hosts any numbers of seminars, lectures, and other fine intellectual pursuits.

This is the view from the balcony, looking down at the podium.

That fine burnt orange color you see everywhere is called Paprika. Which is also the name of the student-run publication.

Here’s the view from below:

You’ll notice there are a few seats at the top left and right. I didn’t have keys to those so I can’t get you those views, sorry.

Still, pretty terrifying stuff.

While we’re in the basement, let’s check out the machine and wood shops, where all kinds of wonders are being created.

The Machine Shop

What does any of this stuff even do? I don’t think anybody knows.

There’s even a pretty sweet laser cutter, which I assume is used to get information from James Bond.

These aren’t in the basement, but the 3D printers are pretty cool, too.

Okay, let’s check out the main working areas.

Gallery and Studios

Taken from the 3rd floor staff area, you can view the 2nd floor Gallery below, which is generally open to the public (though currently closed for changing the exhibits.)

Next, we can see the Studios, where the students slowly lose hope until they graduate.

This is the view from the 5th floor studio, looking down on the 4th.

The center areas are called “Pits,” and that’s where students usually hang up their work to be destroyed by “Critics,” which are professional architects who come back to hurt students. It’s a beautiful cycle.

The huge statue is called Minerva. I don’t know why, and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.

Okay, that’s enough student nonsense. Let’s go up to the 7th floor and check out the sweet Terrace.

The Terrace

The students party up on here on Fridays, drinking the cheapest, grossest beer, even though I suspect a few of them could probably afford the good stuff.

Still, it’s a pretty neat spot. It also has two tiers (though the lower tier has a better view.)

If we go up these stairs, we find the second level.

More weird, uncomfortable furniture which does a terrific job collecting water. Which is, of course, the point of furniture.

Here’s looking down to the left/lower tier, where my phone decided to freak out.

The view from the lower level is pretty spectacular.

Welp, I guess that’s it. You’ve seen most of the cool stuff. Hmmm… but wait… where does this stairwell go…

Mystery Stairs

Huh, totally unmarked stairs. Up to… ?

Some.. weird… enclosed terrace thing.

Oh, cool. It’s just another place for students to spray paint and smoke cigarettes. Gross.

Welp, I guess that’s it. Let’s just go down the stairs and hmmm… what’s this…

Seminar room, eh? Well, it’s all about who you know, and who I know, is someone who has the key. Let’s check it out.

The Penthouse

Up these stairs is the Penthouse to the building, where movers and shakers, uh, move and shake I guess.

It even has a kitchen up here.

I don’t know what happens with these couches. And I don’t want to know.

Another view.

Okay, now we’re through.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour through Rudolph Hall, aka the Yale School of Architecture. I hope it didn’t cost me my job. Luckily, I don’t think they know about this. I hope.

It’s a pretty cool building, and a fun place to work. I know I didn’t show you where I work, because even I have some tiny shred of privacy for myself.

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