Discipline: Architecture

Kent Bloomer

Discipline: Architecture
Region: Guilford, CT
MacDowell fellowships: 1997

Kent C. Bloomer is an American sculptor, professor, and author who is a well-known proponent and creator of architectural ornament. He has taught classes on ornament at the Yale School of Architecture for more than 40 years, and many of his public works of ornament have become well known landmarks. He has written several books and articles on visual perception and architectural ornament, including the principal authorship, with Charles Moore, of “Body, Memory and Architecture,” 1977. Bloomer studied physics and architecture at MIT from 1953-1957, studying under György Kepes. He then studied sculpture at Yale University from 1957–61, with Josef Albers and Erwin Hauer. Bloomer was an instructor and assistant professor in architecture at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) from 1961–66, where he taught first-year architecture students in the intensive Basic Design course. Bloomer was also a frequent critic at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1966, Bloomer was recruited by Dean Charles Moore of the Yale School of Architecture and appointed assistant professor of architectural design. Bloomer was also an integral player in the development of the Yale Building Project, working with Moore and students to design and build the critically praised New Zion Community Center in rural Kentucky. At Yale, Bloomer served as director of undergraduate studies in architecture for 17 years. In 1978, he began teaching “Ornament Theory and Design,” exploring the history and meaning of architectural ornament expressed in built work and writings throughout the history of architecture. Through Bloomer's classes and publications, he has been influential in bringing ornament back into architecture. In 1981, Bloomer and lighting designer Gerald Allen designed new luminaires to sit atop Central Park’s 1910 Henry Bacon-designed lampposts. Bloomer has maintained a professional practice since 1961, founding the Kent Bloomer Studio in 1982. The studio's work began at a large scale with the installation of enormous aluminum "tree domes" within the WonderWall at the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair, designed by Moore's firm MLTW. Bloomer designed the exuberant acroterion on Thomas Beeby’s Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, and the ornament for many other large public works, including the ornament of the Slover Library in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2014.

Studios

MacDowell

Kent Bloomer worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the residency program's studios, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the we began welcoming…

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