Crawford Manor is a public housing community originally built as an elderly enclave in 1962. It was the first high-rise project for the elderly in New Haven and it is consider to be a Brutalist icon of the Late Modern Movement designed at the height of Paul Rudolph’s career.
The building is a 15-story irregularly stacked tower of multiple residential units sheathed in a finely articulated skin of ribbed concrete blocks known as Plasticrete. The interplay between the rounded projections of the differently-shaped balconies and the shadows they cast gives a dynamic rhythm to the surface of the building.
Crawford Manor Housing Technical Information
- Architects: Paul Rudolph
- Location: 90 Park Street, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
- Material: Plasticrete
- Typology: Residential Architecture / Apartments
- Building Cost: USD $1,386,000 (1967) including site work – USD $16.55/s.f. (building only)
- Structural: Milo Ketchum & Partners
- MEP: Hubbard, Lawless & Blakely
- Project Year: 1962
- Drawings and Photographs: © The Estate of Paul Rudolph and © The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation
The understanding and help of local and Federal officials for public housing, an exceptional mayor, and a good site, permitted this most difficult exercise in the economics of building to be fulfilled. The vertical thrust of the piers balanced by the axis of balconies at 90° angles to each other gives this building a sense of restrained, dynamic energy.
The utilization of a special precast block for all exterior surfaces breaks down the scale of the building, enables it to weather well and helps to keep the building within the stringent economic limits imposed on public housing in the United States.
– Paul Rudolph 1
Crawford Manor Apartments Photographs
The building program was to design a high-rise apartment building for the elderly, including 52 efficiency apartments, 52 one-bedroom and 5 two-bedroom units.
The structural system is reinforced concrete columns and flat slab construction. Columns are located in an irregular pattern so they are contained within the wall and do not project into the rooms. The 8” thick floor slab is designed so there are no dropped beams projecting into the rooms.
The building exterior is composed of fluted precast concrete surfacing to break down the scale of the concrete block, and prevent run-off stains; water is channeled into the interstices while the front of the block is exposed to cleaning. Interior stairs and elevator towers are also finished with the fluted precast concrete units.
About Paul Rudolph
Paul Marvin Rudolph (October 23, 1918 – August 8, 1997) was an American architect and the chair of Yale University’s Department of Architecture for six years, known for his use of concrete and highly complex floor plans. His most famous work is the Yale Art and Architecture Building (A&A Building), a spatially complex brutalist concrete structure.
Crawford Manor Image Gallery
1 Paul Rudolph in Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl, and Gerhard Schwab. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New York: Praeger, 1970. P. 192
2 More information about Paul Rudolph’s project at The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation site