The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly
August 23, 2010
On the centenary of Richard Kelly's birth, the Yale School of Architecture will open its exhibition "The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly." Curated by Dietrich Neumann, the show celebrates the work of one of Modern architecture's most prominent lighting designers. Kelly (1910-1977) graduated from the Yale School of Architecture in 1944 and resumed his earlier practice as an independent lighting designer. In the following three decades his collaborations with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis I. Kahn, Philip Johnson and many others helped to define the nocturnal imagery of Modern architecture. Kelly's career began at a felicitous moment. Many new technologies for architectural illumination had been introduced and were being applied to Modern architecture. With increased transparency, interior lighting would determine a building's exterior appearance at night and render its spatial depth visible.
Kelly was instrumental in formulating something we might call nocturnal modernity, a particular aesthetic vocabulary for the home, public spaces and work environments at night that had a lasting impact on the appearances and reception of Modern architecture. Thanks to Kelly's work, the nocturnal images of, for example, Johnson's Glass House, Mies's Lake Shore Drive Apartments and Seagram Building, and Eero Saarinen's Dulles Airport have become iconic representations of groundbreaking lighting strategies.
With a selection of drawings, new luminous models of contemporary and historic lighting designs, archival images and contemporary panorama photography, the exhibition presents Kelly's work in its historical context and examines its place in architectural illumination today.
Through October 3Yale School of Architecture Gallery, New Haven, CT
photo: Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, 1950. Mies van der Rohe architect, Richard Kelly lighting designer.