As the author of the biography The Art and Architecture of Paul Rudolph, I was naturally interested to read Steven Spier's book review in aj 10.2.00. He makes perceptive comments about Paul Rudolph's controversial architecture but I think fails to acknowledge the significant and lasting contribution Rudolph made to post-Mesian architectural design. Spier also reveals his prejudices: 'Rudolph's drawings ... are unengaging and look no better than his buildings.' The review does not properly explain the unusual motivation for this book or the recent exhibition at the Building Centre in London.
This is the first publication to cover Paul Rudolph's lifetime work, as he died recently, and it is a commemorative tribute by his graduates who studied under him at Yale University. Its unique features include the pen-portraits of him by now eminent architects, including Bob Stern, and the foreword by Norman Foster. These are interesting, personal insights and are a living record of the personality, ideas and architectural techniques of Paul Rudolph. They are therefore valuable scholastically. In fact, there has not been any book about him for 25 years. His archives are now locked away in the Library of Congress at Washington and not yet available for public access, much to the concern of his trustees - as this is contrary to his bequest. So it is some achievement that this book has been able to feature many of his original drawings for the first time, as well as several of his later, previously unpublished, projects. This new material is retained in private collections and the owners were pleased to make them available for this special tribute. These personal possessions included Rudolph's own drawings of the Wisma Dharmala headquarters in Jakarta. They are particularly valuable, as the project is arguably Paul Rudolph's best scheme. It was designed at the end of his career and shows how his late Modernist ideas have been refined and progressed.
Tony Monk, University of Luton