Advanced Design Studio: Krier
Nomination, H.I. Feldman Prize
Conceived for the year 2038, Leon Krier’s masterplan for New Haven places emphasis on the city not only as the “cultural capital of Connecticut,” but also maximizes on its potential as a key location in the Northeast region. With both neighborhood and national scales in mind, the New Haven Capitol was developed to address both. From studying a number of statehouse plans, it was concluded that the parti of the building must be simple in its conception: a central hall and two flanking rooms. Facing New Haven, the building serves its purpose as a monument with a neighborhood scale. To achieve this, the block is broken down into smaller-scale elements and the center remains open as public space. The other governmental programs occupy separate adjacent buildings as a campus, rather than encased in a larger footprint. On the side facing the harbor, iconicity becomes a key factor. This is addressed by the height of the building – a tower to be seen from great distances. As the plan remains compact, heeding to the essentials, the larger monumental moves are made for the benefit of the public. That is, the park space within the center of the block with the open pavilion, the lantern that serves as a way to view the city from above, and the colonnade walk on the southern side, capitalizing on the opportunity to view the harbor. The building itself makes multiple references to the emblems of Connecticut, with the capitals featuring the egg and dart motif for the robin, the mountain laurel represented on the neck of the column, and the founders of Hartford and New Haven on the corners of the tower. Connecticut’s motto is “Qui Transtilut Sustinet” or “He who is transplanted sustains.” In the moving of the capitol to New Haven, this seems especially apt.