Scully’s School

His supreme, tweedy confidence was softened with a vulnerability and kind of underdog spirit. 

Yale School of Architecture Kristin Tata

In December of last year, Yale announced that it was appointing a University Architect for the first time in the school’s 322-year history. James Kolker, poached from the same post at Washington University in St. Louis, would “be responsible for maintaining an architectural vision for Yale,” in a move that “aligns the university with our Ivy League peers.”

The simple question raised by this news—what took so long?—can be answered, in large part, with two words: Vincent Scully. For much of the postwar period, the historian and critic, who grew up in New Haven, earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale, and taught there for more than six decades, played the role of architectural kingmaker on campus, forming a powerful if unofficial planning committee alongside Yale’s president and architecture dean. In the 1960s the troika included, in addition to Scully, Alfred Whitney Griswold and Paul Rudolph; later, A. Bart…

Read three free articles and receive our newsletter by creating an account.

Or login if you are already a user.

from $5/month