Remembering Rudolph Hall: A Eulogy
M.Arch I 2021. Current location: Quito, Ecuador. The piece is written from the Mashpi Ecological Reserve, more exactly from Mashpi Lodge Hotel designed by Alfredo Ribadeneira (I actually interned for him a couple of years ago).
– “All, please be virtually seated.”
Everyone virtually sits with the command. Everyone is silent. Speaker pauses and then continues.
– “We are here gathered in the memory of Rudolph Hall, initially home to the Art and Architecture department of Yale University and recently home to just the Yale School of Architecture. We thank the higher spirits of architecture for creating the eternal container of creative pedagogy, the monument to a cooperative relationship between students, and an ode to the honesty of cast concrete. We also thank Paul Rudolph for those long model making nights, the never-ending coffee mugs, and those everlasting friendships made under this roof.
When we lose someone who is dear to us, help us receive comfort from what we will always have, photographs, drawings, memories and short glimpses of it in the background of an occasional Zoom video conference. Today, Rudolph Hall has not merely died, but has transformed from being a monumental building filled with the activities that concerned an Architectural Education in our physical world, to becoming a mausoleum in our collective memory where we go to re-live the romanticism of a better time.
For many of us gathered here today, Rudolph Hall has left our reality because of the consequences of the pandemic, putting us in different corners of the world, and making us experience everything under a different light. Now, Rudolph Hall has died, but that doesn’t mean it has disappeared in our minds. On the contrary, it has achieved an omnipresence, worthy only of a memorable work, changing its function from a container of our education to the container of romantic memories. Now we experience a mausoleum, which we constantly picture ourselves going back to in order to reconnect to that side of us that stayed there, and has been left forever in this transformation of matter. We thank You for eternal life provided for Rudolph Hall, and we ask the higher spirits of architecture to help us to see the good in experiencing this transformation. And when the eternal day of resurrection (or the end of COVID-19) dawns upon us, grant us grace to meet again transformed.”
– Quiet weeping comes from friends and relatives from the front row.
– “You can all go virtually in peace.”