DiMaio’s and Beeby’s intention was to diversify the character of the street, and to project a retail image where continuity in building height was maintained, while different design sensibilities could be introduced. The two facades designed by Beeby are classical in style, and DiMaio’s is characterized by a sleek, steel and glass front with inlaid stone panels. While the other two fronts were more harmonious with the overall character of this portion of Broadway, the Urban Outfitters and its ‘face to the street’ was appropriate to Yale Properties’s vision to enhance student life with a store that advertised the ‘New’ and fast-paced image of Broadway.


Her strategy was to present a facade, much like a billboard, for the display of clothing and UO paraphernalia. As might be expected, DiMaio’s front is excessively flat, (glass 3/8” from the steel frame) and gridded in such a way as to highlight the storefront as a framework for the display of non-architectural material, i.e. apparel.

Also, the designed facade was a ‘set-up’ for inflection and juxtaposition. Meaning, the building sign is a gigantic, curved or concave surface, clipped on to the glass and steel framework, suspended by cables. The pronounced curvature of the sign was the final touch to tie the retail frame together and energetically address the street and advertise the store’s presence, as one approached the store from the side, along Broadway.  

All photos © Judith Dimaio, except where noted

Urban Outfitters at Yale University

Broadway, New Haven, Connecticut

Judith DiMaio

Client: Yale Properties

Associated Architect: Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge (HBRA), Chicago, Illinois

Urban Renewal/Commercial


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Description and directives

Updating 'Old Broadway' in downtown New Haven was the brainchild of Yale Properties, a function of Yale University. For some time, Yale had wanted to give a facelift to Broadway, which cuts through the center of Yale’s urban campus. The architect of record, Thomas Beeby, former dean of the School of Architecture at Yale, invited DiMaio to devise and design the storefront and facade for the long- anticipated Urban Outfitters store.

Lisa Tannenbaum

Detail of the Ashfield Schist stone panels set into steel frame

DiMaio visited the quarry to determine the preferred color and grain of the Ashfield Schist stone panels

Plan details, stone panels and steel frame

Excerpt from the Yale alumni magazine, Light & Verity

Horizontal stone joint detail top

Stone/steel/glazing details middle

Horizontal bar detail bottom

Construction details developed by DiMaio

Facade facing Broadway: steel, glass and Ashfield Schist

The exterior facade, or ‘billboard,’ prior to installation of the sign over the entrance

The ‘billboard’ advertising merchandise with the canted sign attached with cables

Urban Outfitters, Broadway Redevelopment, New Haven, Connecticut

DiMaio visiting the jobsite with her advanced studio class