Wellesley College- Jewett Arts Center // 1958

One of the most stunning buildings in the Boston area is the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College.

The main architect of Jewett Arts Center was Paul Rudolph (1918-1997) who
studied under Walter Gropius at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) where he received his Master of Architecture in 1947. Rudolph served as Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University where he designed several buildings including the Yale Arts and Architecture School in his signature corduroy concrete.

Jewett was built to replace the Farnsworth Art Building which had been
constructed in 1889 and was reaching its capacity in the early 1900s.
As early as 1923 Ralph Adams Cram, supervising architect to Wellesley
College was asked to plan a fireproof addition to the Art Building.
From 1950 more discussions about additions to Farnsworth occurred and
several schemes were considered, but they landed on the construction of a new building which would frame out the Academic Quad.

George Frederick Jewett pledged the necessary funds to construct an arts
center in 1954. At that time his wife, Mary Cooper Jewett ’23, was a Trustee
of the College. Jewett’s initial contribution was for an arts building; he learned of the need for a music facility as pledge to include an arts center of two parts: an arts building for his wife, and a music building in memory of his mother.

The main exterior material of the Arts Center is brick, matched in color to the brick of the surrounding structures. Rudolph considered structural
elements and scale to create the appropriate embellishment. The quad can be entered by a sheltered approach through the building with cantilevered stairs on the sides. A staircase opens to the quadrangle and acts as a picture frame for the historic structures surrounding.

One of the wings on the building, which was intended as art studios on the upper floors, called for larger expanses of windows for increased natural light. The addition of brise-soleils adds texture architecturally and functionality for the interior spaces.

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