"neat and alert and lively on its site, and beautifully equipped within"
Professor Vincent Scully

"Expect a fight when it's time to tear it down."
Yale Alumni Magazine

8 Prospect Place was designed as a temporary building to provide swing space for the Yale University Political Science Department while permanent buildings are planned. To meet the client's limited budget and schedule, factory-built modular buildings were used, the first of their kind on the Yale campus. Its design augments standard modular construction to fit comfortably on its site. The project was completed in seven months - three months for design and four months for construction.

The building houses two classrooms, meeting rooms, graduate student workrooms, faculty offices, and department headquarters.

Twenty-one units were trucked to the site from Milford, Connecticut. These sit on concrete piers to minimize site work. The units were clad with metalflake-painted corrugated steel panels on site. The roofs of the units slope lengthwise to drain into pipes hidden between interior walls. Rooftop heating and cooling units hide behind long low walls clad in corrugated metal matching walls below.

The building is arranged as three long bars stepping around an entry court and porch. The entrance is on axis with the perpendicular leg of Prospect Place, welcoming visitors, and giving the entry and waiting room the long view they deserve. The low mass of the building keeps it modest despite its shiny presence. Sleek ribbon windows slide by each other in Fibonacci rhythms to give the building a sense of speed. This all offers a twinkle of good humor despite the building's impermanence and humble beginnings.

Inside the building is a simple double loaded corridor for economy. The waiting room and hallways are animated by a de Stijl patterning of standard ceiling lights and end windows. Every office has the same amount of glass as its siblings, yet each has a distinct arrangement of windows. Maple doors, furniture, and cabinetry add another touch of elegance to an otherwise straightforward building.

Photography © Jeff Goldberg/Esto