Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Dana Arts Center

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Institution Name: Colgate University
Original/Historic Place Name: Dana Arts Center
Location on Campus: Lally Ln.
Date(s) of Construction:
1966original construction Rudolph, Paul
Designer: Paul Rudolph
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: concrete block
Roof: asphalt and rubberized laminate
1966-present (2006)theater
1966-present (2006)museum (Picker Art Gallery)
1966-present (2006)academic department building (music and fine arts)

The Dana Arts Center is a relatively small scale, but excellent example of the work of Paul Rudolph, a leading American Modernist of the 1960s. It is comparable to Rudolph's work at Wellesley, although more compact in organization. The skeletal and vertical monumentality of its west façade is a dramatic contrast to the prismatic variety and horizontal interaction with the hill on the east. In contrast to Rudolph's Art and Architecture building at Yale, the spaces are more discreet, and circulation elements, including a central grand stairwell, provide the curricular and spatial links. As an example of the Brutalist style, it contrasts dramatically with the remaining buildings on campus. Such a contrast was sought by the institution as a declaration of postwar progressivism associated with co-education and curricular change. It is one of the rare examples of architecture on campus for which the institution sought a signature building of dramatic, anti-contextualized character by an architect of international stature.


"Colgate: Creative Arts Center." Progressive Architecture 48 (Feb. 1967): 114-21.

The Colgate University Centennial Celebration: 1819-1919. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1920.

Rudolph, Paul. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New York: Praeger, 1970, 166-73.

Williams, Howard. A History of Colgate University, 1819-1969. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969.


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