Kent Bloomer
Kent Bloomer

Kent Cress Bloomer, 1935-2023, founded the “Kent Bloomer Studio” in Pittsburgh in 1965 when he was awarded the commission to design the bas relief for the Rodef Shalom Temple. He also taught “Basic Design” in the Architecture Department of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, from 1961 to 1966.

Bloomer’s sculptures won top awards in the Pittsburgh shows of the Associated Artists and the International and were exhibited in museums across the country from the New York Museum of Modern Art to the Los Angeles County Museum. They are also in the permanent collections of Roy Neuberger, the Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven.

Bloomer moved his studio to Guilford, Connecticut, in 1966 when he was invited to join the faculty at the Yale School of Architecture. In 1995, he relocated his studio to the Erector Square building in New Haven. When Bloomer retired from his studio, in 2020, the Stonebridge Carlyle Crossing project in Alexandria, Virginia, which he had designed, was unfinished but his “Foliation” graced the lobby of 401 9th Street in Market Square North, Washington, D.C.

His public ornament is visible throughout the United States, including the roof of the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library, a window wall in the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the luminaires in New York City’s Central Park and gothic lights, display cases, gates, and more on the Yale campus. In 2018 his “Puzzle Ball” and “Dragon Gate” were constructed for the Bridge School in Shanghai.

At Yale, in 1978, he began teaching Ornament Theory and Design which evolved into a seminar he taught from 1984 until his retirement in 2019. His contribution to architectural education was recognized with the school’s festschrift publication, Kent Bloomer Nature as Ornament.

In addition to his studio production, Bloomer is the principal author of Body, Memory, and Architecture, written with Charles Moore, and the author of The Nature of Ornament. He also contributed 9 chapters in books and 32 articles in journals on subjects involving ornament. His latest manuscript, written with concert pianist Karin Nagano and completed in 2023, is a comparison of figures of ornament in music with figures of ornament in architecture.

Bloomer studied physics and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and sculpture at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, receiving a BFA in 1959 and an MFA in 1961. He grew up in Riverside, Connecticut, and lived in Guilford, Connecticut, with his wife, “Nona.”