Exterior facade of the office by Kevin Roche

The Knights of Columbus Headquarters designed by Kevin Roche and completed in 1969  is characterized by the four emblematic towers in the corners which represent a symbolic gateway to the city.

Knights of Columbus Headquarters technical information

The towers at the corners contain the stairs and toilets and are clad in silo tile. This clay tile, normally used for silos in the Midwest, is approximately 12- to 13-inches square and is chamfered on top to cast a strong horizontal shadow, balancing the vertical thrust of the towers.

Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC (KRJDA)

Knights of Columbus Headquarters Photographs

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Article by KRJDA Architects

This is a headquarters for a philanthropic organization that also has a large insurance activity. The intention of the design was to make a strong vertical statement at the entrance to New Haven from the expressway. It is, in effect, a symbolic gateway to the city and is oriented on the diagonal as a gesture to relate to the diagonal grid of local city streets across the highway.

The building has five towers: four exterior and one interior elevator tower. These towers were poured in a continuous pour of slip-form concrete and, as in the Ford Foundation, the spans between are steel. The 90-foot exterior beams are outside the building which, after considerable discussion with the fire marshal, were permitted to be installed without fireproofing.

Spanning back to the core is a series of secondary beams that are exposed within the surfaces. As the mechanical and lighting systems are all integrated into the structure, there are no false ceilings in this building; so with 13 feet from floor to floor, the ceiling height is in excess of 12 feet giving the floors, which are almost entirely occupied by open workspaces as part of the insurance operation, an open, airy feeling.

The towers at the corners contain the stairs and toilets and are clad in silo tile. This clay tile, normally used for silos in the Midwest, is approximately 12- to 13-inches square and is chamfered on top to cast a strong horizontal shadow, balancing the vertical thrust of the towers. The tiles are a dark-plum color to match the color of the weathering steel and reduce the problem of staining from the early weathering of the steel.

Project plans

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About KVJD and Associates

Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC (“Roche Dinkeloo”) is a direct outgrowth of Eero Saarinen and Associates, which was established in 1950. After Saarinen’s passing in 1961, the practice was subsequently taken over by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo. Together they worked to complete the remaining design on Saarinen’s major projects including the Dulles International Airport, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport and the CBS Headquarters in New York.

Eamonn Kevin Roche FAIA (June 14, 1922 – March 1, 2019) was an Irish-born American Pritzker Prize-winning architect. He has been responsible for the design/master planning for over 200 built projects in both the U.S. and abroad. These projects include eight museums, 38 corporate headquarters, seven research facilities, performing arts centers, theaters, and campus buildings for six universities. In 1967 he created the master plan for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and henceforth designed all of the new wings and installation of many collections including the recently reopened American and Islamic wings

Knights of Columbus Headquarters Gallery