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Rudolph Renovation Shows How Far Brutalism Can Bend

While it doesn't sounds like the most historically sensitive renovation, designLAB's reworking of Paul Rudolph's Carney Library at UMass Dartmouth shows that Brutalist monoliths can be adapted to suit contemporary needs and tastes.
November 29, 2012, 6am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Robert Campbell reviews designLAB's nearly complete renovation and redesign of Randolph's Brutalist Claire T. Carney Library: "a lesson in mixing the old and the new and getting a result that’s better than either." While others debate the merits of saving relics from this hard to love period of architectural history, Campbell argues that designLAB's work makes a strong case that such buildings can be revived with an intelligent approach that builds off its strengths and softens its weaknesses.

"DesignLAB’s architects get their role exactly right. They admire Rudolph, they’ve researched his intentions and worked to restore them, but at the same time they’re fearless about knocking down his stuff and adding their own. They do that wherever it’s needed to make a better experience for the library’s users."

"In a world of diminishing resources," says Campbell, "it makes less and less sense to demolish and replace even a difficult and controversial piece of architecture like Rudolph’s old Carney. But the fact that a building was designed by a famed architect doesn’t mean you have to treat it as a sacred object, either. The Carney offers an important lesson: that often the best way to get a good new building is to grab a great old one, give it a good hard shake, and reinvent it for another era."

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Published on Saturday, November 24, 2012 in The Boston Globe
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