Eero's Rink Reborn, or... Adding to the Yale Whale
by Michael J. Crosbie
It's not often that an architect gets to add to a building that he or she worked on years before, especially after a span of 50 years. But that's the case for the new expansion of Yale's David S. Ingalls Rink, originally designed by Eero Saarinen in the early 1950s.
Eero Saarinen's work has a significant presence on the Yale campus, which is where he studied architecture in the 1930s. The hockey rink is his most daring building — an expressive, figural object that presented some major challenges for any addition.
Of course, Saarinen is not the architect who had the opportunity to revisit this project after half a century. That distinction goes to Kevin Roche, who worked with Saarinen from 1950 until 1961, and had a hand in the original Ingalls design.
In fact, Roche was part of the team that presented the design to Yale in the early 1950s after Saarinen received the commission. Eero Saarinen's office was in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and the presentation model was transported on top of a car driven from Michigan to Connecticut for the unveiling.
Roche's firm, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates in Hamden, Connecticut, is the successor to Saarinen's practice, and completed more than a dozen Saarinen projects after Eero's death in 1961.
Freestanding Sculptural Object
Ingalls Rink, known affectionately as the "Yale Whale," is a classic and iconic Eero Saarinen building. Its highly sculptural pure form stands clear in an open site on Sachem Street, just north of Yale's main campus.
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