Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Colleges
With its rich history and impeccable standing amongst the finest institutions in the world, Yale University’s New Residential Colleges area stirring homage to collegiate gothic vernacular with a modern architectural flair. Harmoniously set on 6.7 acres within the New Haven, Connecticut Campus, the two asymmetrical colleges boldly exemplify the finest use of stone and masonry. Exquisite design and painstaking craftsmanship are evidenced by the beautiful passageway groin vaults, signature towers, charming courtyards, imposing oriel windows, and master carvings. Smooth finished Indiana buff limestone was the chosen expression with red brick and Weymouth granite ashlar woven into the aesthetic pallet.
The scope of the project proved to be a rewarding and substantive management exercise. Combined, the colleges were comprised of 45 individual phases, with each presenting its own exceptional challenge. Over 10,000 unique limestone elements were carefully detailed requiring in excess of 100 specific connection configuration styles. Stone shop drawings, fabrication tickets, engineering and anchorage were key deliverable designed to optimize and efficiently guide project execution. Effective collaboration and design assistance activities proved critical to exceeding expectations.
The projects importance permeated the degree to which details were scrutinized and perfected. Integrated brick masonry and ashlar granite were thoroughly coordinated to achieve horizontal jointing alignment with limestone elements. An intuitive stone labeling system was derived to ensure efficient site and installation logistics. This particular challenge required that mark numbers, occasionally 11 characters long, accurately identified stone elements across all phases, irrespective of sequence. Therefore, piece number “L121-36.5AR” on phase 1, appropriately defines the same stone occurrence on phase 45. Identification was only possible many months after the initial phases of detailing. No small feat, however this logic allowed stone handlers the ability to understand each unique stones’ characteristic, simply by its tag. Special coordination was required with the stone carving program. As the project evolved, specific traditions and Yale lore received immortality by virtue of master carved works of art. Medallions, plaques, and inscriptions adorn the facade while ornamentation captures your curiosity. Indiana Limestone was an ideal material for ensuring the quality and exacting standards were achievable.
Documentation required particular skill and consideration. The architect utilized advanced BIM techniques and specialized software in generating building models. These models required processing and subsequent design refinement to conform with traditional detailing methods. Software programming routines were developed to maintain schedule commitments yet ensure error free shop ticket submissions. Quality control processes were a critical focus despite aggressive schedule requirements and complicated installation sequencing. An offsite staging yard, minutes from the site, allowed just-in-time delivery for supplying masonry crews with stone.
In the midst of production, whether the complicated engineering conditions of the self-supporting arches, the detailing complexities of the tower, or the vast communication demands within our team, no one lost focus on the objective: to deliver an inspirational place with unparalleled detail and quality. We are proud to have contributed to this project, and recognize that success will be proven by the faculty, students, and admirers fortunate to experience its stunning beauty.