Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Kent Bloomer

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Nationality  American
Role  Author
Name  Kent Bloomer
Occupation  Ornamentor

Kent Bloomer architectureyaleedusitesdefaultfilesimagesF
Born  May 31, 1935 (1935-05-31) Mt. Vernon, New York
Works  Harold Washington Library
Education  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University
Books  Body - Memory - and Archi, The Nature of Ornament, Architects and Mimetic R

Kent bloomer the necessity for ornament

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 over forty 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. In a show of student work done under Albers, Art News described Bloomer’s work as “something of a stranger in this general company, both in terms of the interest that he assumes in metal textures and also in terms of the fact that his forms have anthropomorphic connotations."


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 to the Yale School of Architecture by Dean Charles Moore 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 seventeen years. In 1978, Bloomer 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. Bloomer remains a Professor on the faculty of architecture at Yale, teaching his ornament seminar and co-teaching the first-year Visualization requirement.

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.

Select Works

  • Temple Rodef Shalom portal bas-relief (1965), Pittsburgh, PA
  • Central Park luminaires (1982), New York City, (w/ Gerald Allen Architect)
  • New Orleans World's Fair, "Tree Domes" (1984), New Orleans, LA(w/ Charles Moore Architect)
  • University of Oregon Science Complex, Willamette Hall, "Physics Wall" atrium and light standards (1989) (w/ The Ratcliff Architects; Moore, Ruble Yudell Architects; and Brockmeyer McDonnell Architects)
  • Yale University, gothic luminaires (1990)
  • Harold Washington Library Center roof ornaments (1993), Chicago, IL, (w/ Thomas H. Beeby)
  • Duke Ellington Circle and Central Park West Lightposts (1997), New York City
  • Ronald Reagan National Airport window tracery (1997), (w/ Cesar Pelli Architect)
  • Kansas State University, Hale Library stone and metal ornaments and railings (1997), (w/ HBRA Architects and BBN Architects)
  • Rice University, Baker Hall exterior and interior ornament (1997), Houston, TX, (w/ HBRA Architects)
  • Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, roof ornament and mural (2000), Kearney, NE, (w/ Peter Dominick Architect)
  • Nashville Public Library, entrance frieze (2001), Nashville, TN, (w/ Robert A.M. Stern Architects)
  • Rice University, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management entrance ornament and sculpture (2002), Houston, TX,(w/ Robert A.M. Stern Architects)
  • Yale University, Class of 1954 Chemistry Research Building, entrance gate (2005), New Haven, CT, (w/ Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)
  • Yale University, Bass Library entrance pavilion and Sterling Memorial Library stairwell entrance ornament (2007), (w/ HBRA Architects)
  • Yale University, Woolsey Hall display cases (2007), University Theatre display cases (2009)
  • Clinton Avenue School, (2004), New Haven, CT, (w/Ken Boroson Architects)
  • Hill Central School, (2012), New Haven, CT, (w/Ken Boroson Architects)
  • 360 State Street parking garage façade design and ornaments (2010), New Haven, CT, (w/ Becker and Becker Associates)
  • New York Avenue Bridge "Gateway Wings" (2013), Washington, D.C.
  • References

    Kent Bloomer Wikipedia