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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Renderings of Paul Rudolph

In response to a recent post about the Sarasota School of Architecture, a regular reader...who happens to be an architect himself...mentioned Paul Rudolph's architectural renderings. Of course, I had to investigate and was amazed by what I found. Some of his drawings reminded me of the work of M.C. Escher.  One article compared the detail of his renderings with Victorian etchings, and that seems to be an apt description too.

The article went on to say:

Aside from his built works, Paul Rudolph was also a master renderer known for his dynamic graphic presentations drawn with incredible precision...from the building elements to the texture of the materials realistically amplified with light and shadows. His trademark presentation technique involves a black-and-white rendering of a building's cross-section which is drawn to a large scale on a single-point perspective. Such accuracy enabled him to illustrate and investigate the realities of his buildings and their spaces...


Niagara Falls Library - Niagara Falls, NY

Callahan Residence - Birmingham, Alabama

Lower Manhattan Expressway (LoMEx) - New York, NY

LoMEx - New York, NY

Yale Arts and Architecture Building - New Haven, CT

Beekman Place penthouse - New York, NY

Burroughs Wellcome Company - Research Triangle Park, NC
Paul Rudolph


  1. Oh, what a treat, Dana, they are amazing!!!

  2. Fantastic. I wonder how many of these sketches actually got built. I know that the actual Niagara Falls Library is a scaled-down version of his sketch. To see the LoMex as a building would be surreal!

    1. Correction: I realize that the actual Niagara library is another Rudolph design although it does have hints of those slanting roof patterns.

    2. Of these particular renderings, the Yale Art and Architecture Building and the Beekman Place penthouse were built, as was the Burroughs Wellcome Headquarters building. Here's the URL to a site that lists his designs, built and unbuilt, by state:

  3. Some of these ink drawings are four to six feet wide. He was influenced by Wright and his use of overlapping planes in section, plan and elevations. If you have ever tried drawing in ink you know how hard it is not to make a mistake. Thanks for posting.

    1. The size of his drawings amazes me. When I was in my 20s, I was into pen and ink drawings for a while. The largest I ever did was an 16x20. You're absolutely right that the medium isn't a forgiving one. Unlike oils, pen and ink doesn't allow for mistakes.