School of Grok

October 18th, 2014  |  Published in '53 Commons, all news, coat of arms, History, master planning, Med. School, north campus, other projects

The office of new Provost Carolyn Dever is launching two task forces, one of which is aimed at “evaluating the prospect of giving Dartmouth’s graduate and advanced studies programs a physical plant” (The Dartmouth of September 30; see also The Graduate Forum of October 3, The Dartmouth of October 7).

Dartmouth has operated a number of graduate programs for years. Most are attached to relevant undergraduate departments. Thus the creation of a freestanding school of graduate studies need not involve any expansion; it could be done as an administrative reorganization, and, in theory, it could even result in a streamlining of staff. Whether or not a grad studies building is a goal at the moment, however, a building seems likely. As far back as 2007 the unbuilt design (pdf page 9) for a freestanding Class of 1953 Commons included a Graduate Suite.

Maybe some part of the old hospital site is as good as any; maybe when Dana Library moves out of its temporary location in Home 57, that building could house the School of Graduate Studies. Maybe a new building for Dana could terminate the Berry Row axis and link the Medical School with the Graduate School, as the Murdough Center links Tuck and Thayer.

Of course all this growth became inevitable once the program/school adopted a coat of arms back in 2010.

Coat of arms for Graduate Studies at Dartmouth
Graduate Studies coat of arms, from Graduate Studies

Siting a new building for Thayer School

October 16th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Fairchild, MacLean ESC, master planning, Thayer School, Tuck School

The Dartmouth reports that Wilson Architects is “exploring potential designs and locations” for a new Thayer School building:

The parking lot is the most obvious site, Helble said, though it would create a need for another parking facility elsewhere.

The firm will present its report in January. Wilson Architects, of Boston, has worked on a design for the renovation of Fairchild Hall.

A master play mystery

September 5th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Buchanan Hall, master planning, preservation, Tuck School

The BBB/MVVA master plan has not been presented to the public, but one small illustration from it has been published on the Web. Reading much into this one image is difficult. The image emphasizes a system of green circulation armatures; although it depicts several new buildings, it does not distinguish them from existing buildings.

Nevertheless some fairly significant proposals for new construction can be discerned. One of the most intriguing involves Tuck Drive, which curves gently uphill from the left:

Detail from Beyer Blinder Belle master plan for Dartmouth

Tuck Drive is simply cut off in the image; it dead-ends behind Buchanan instead of emerging from Webster’s Vale to join with Tuck Mall. (Here is a recent Bing aerial of the site.) Perhaps the blocking of Tuck Drive would not be much of a change. The upper end was already bollarded by 2010, a change presumably made when Fahey and McLane were built.

Where does the master plan have this Tuck Mall driveway leading, then? It goes to a parking lot. The broad, curving sidewalk and new lawn behind Buchanan appear to be level, bridging over the Vale.

Whether it is a small surface lot or an underground garage, this would not be an all-school parking area; it would serve the Tuck School. Indeed the green bridge with its broad path appear to link Buchanan to the current President’s House and the two or three new buildings shown nearby. It looks as if the designers are reviving the idea that the President’s House, whose address is technically 1 Tuck Drive, be made a part of the Tuck School. If an appropriate replacement for the executive mansion could be found, it would make a lot of sense.

College Cleaners demo, other items

September 3rd, 2014  |  Published in all news, Connecticut River, graphic design, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., History, Indoor Practice Facility, Larson, Jens, master planning, Memorial Field, preservation, publications

  • Athletic Director Harry Sheehy interviewed in the Valley News:

    If you talked to our previous coaching staff, we were injured because we had to practice outside, but I don’t buy it. I would love to have an indoor facility so you could practice indoors for an hour and outdoors for an hour. I’m not saying the cold doesn’t put a stress on the body; I’m just saying that somehow we’ve had some (men’s lacrosse) success before and without an indoor facility.

    I don’t need one with a thousand bells and whistles. We need a functional space with an artificial surface. The problem is, it still costs you $20 million just to do that.

  • A Memorial Field bid package document (pdf) states that “[f]or the most part, with the exception of some small changes, this is the same project that was cancelled in 2008.”

  • Demolition of the College Cleaners building on Allen Street, where the cleaning business started more than 65 years ago, is going ahead. The building first appears on maps between 1912 and 1922, when it was used as a restaurant. The site will become a parking lot and, one hopes, eventually will be a site for a new commercial building. The Valley News article distinguishes Town-owned from privately-owned public parking; the sad examples of the lots at 2 or 6 West Wheelock, where proper businesses have belonged for decades, suggest that Town-owned lots suffer a certain inertia.

  • Yes, the TM symbol associated with the big green D on the new scoreboard is distracting. But is it also crass, or is it a necessity of college athletics and trademark law? It might be the former: None of the other Ivies feels the need to put such a big TM next to its logo on the league website.

  • A proposal: In order to reduce traffic on South Main Street and at the Inn Corner, the town should make South Main a one-way street and block through traffic other than buses:

    Plan of proposed one-way Main St., half closed to traffic

    The gray zones are areas newly freed up for parking. Some of the southern parking area could become a Town Square in front of the Municipal Building:

    Plan of proposed one-way Main St., half closed to traffic with town square

  • Google Street View says that this bench (Appalachian Trail? Memorial?) appeared at Lebanon and Crosby between 2009 and 2013:



  • Steve Smith has written Top 10 Natural Places to Visit in Hanover, New Hampshire: A Walking Guide (Valley News).

  • Football’s alternate uniforms were revealed on August 12 (Big Green Alert). BGA has a photo of “Stephen Dazzo modeling Dartmouth’s alternate gray pants and a helmet designed to fit the theme ‘Granite of New Hampshire.'”

  • There are some interesting details in the very detailed Wilder Dam relicensing preliminary application document of 2012 (pdf).

  • Another proposal: In order to save money, USPS should sell off its Main Street property and lease a cheaper and more efficient space downtown, perhaps in the Galleria or Hanover Park or even on Allen Street. (This might mean moving the postal sorting operation, with its tractor-trailers, to Route 120.) The college’s Real Estate Office or another developer could then rehabilitate all or part of the historic 1931 Post Office building as a commercial space and fill the vacant land around it with commercial or mixed-use construction. It seems so wasteful to maintain that truck parking lot in the middle of town, and the Post Office isn’t making the best use of its building, either.

  • The Valley News has stories on Lebanon’s sale of school buildings, one with interior photos of Larson’s former Junior High School and one with an exterior photo of the building.

—–

[Update 09.03.2014: Typo corrected, wording altered for clarity.]

In the archives of the Alumni Magazine

September 1st, 2014  |  Published in all news, Baker Library, graphic design, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., History, Hop, the, Larson, Jens, master planning, other projects, Parkhurst Hall, preservation, publications, Rocky

Some fun things are to be found by rummaging indiscriminately in the new on-line archive:

Harrison’s first design for the Hop appeared in a remarkable illustrated article from 1957.[1] This is the boxy, pre-arcade version of the building. The Top of the Hop was to have a cylindrical glass-walled void running through its center, all the way from the roof to the theater lobby. This seems to have evolved into the modest Barrows Exhibition Rotunda at the building’s entrance.

Ray Nash wrote on the college seal in 1941.[2] Speaking of the seal, “Hanover’s best skylight… is found in Parkhurst Hall” according to a “best-of” list written in 1984.[3] The skylight, which depicted the seal, was removed during a interior renovation and seemed to have been lost by May of 2006. Was it ever returned?

An article on the Rockefeller Center included architectural commentary by designer Lo-Yi Chan.[4]

In the election of John Steel to the board of trustees, the alumni association counted its ballots on May 23, 1980. The board put off its vote of June 6, however, asking the association to investigate “any irregularities” in the campaign. On July 28 the association recommended action on the nomination, and the board elected Steel on August 16 — a delay of about ten weeks. He was seated at the board’s November meeting.[5]

George Hathorn wrote a well-illustrated article on “Unbuilt Dartmouth” in 1978.[6]

The master plan for Memorial Field appeared in a 1920 article.[7]

Noel Perrin wrote an observant 1974 photographic study of Hanover-area sprawl.[8]

—–

  1. “The Hopkins Center,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (May 1957), 17-21, 25.
  2. Ray Nash, “Rediscovering the College Seal,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (December 1941), 17-20.
  3. “Hanover’s Bests,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (December 1984), 42.
  4. Donald McNemar, “Rockefeller Center: The Ideal of Reflection and Action,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (June 1981), 30-33.
  5. Editor, “The College. Steel Elected,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (September 1980), 26. Compare Todd Zywicki, “History of Trustee Election Rules,” Dartmouth Review (6 October 2006), 2 (“In 1980 a man named John Steel ran as a petition candidate for trustee and was elected in a landslide. Efforts were made by the College and the board at the time to refuse to seat him and after protracted litigation, he finally prevailed.”).
  6. George Hathorn, “Unbuilt Dartmouth: Castles in the Clouds,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (May 1978), 29-33.
  7. James P. Richardson, “The Plans for Memorial Field,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (February 1920), 640-643.
  8. Noel Perrin, “The College in the Suburb,” Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (May 1974), 18-23.

A black hole telescope; other news

August 2nd, 2014  |  Published in all news, Baker Library, DHMC, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., History, master planning, Memorial Field, Mt. Moosilauke, other projects, preservation, societies, Wilson Hall

  • An earlier post here expressed concern about the plaque added to the Orozco Room after the National Historic Landmark listing. Dartmouth Digital Orozco depicts the plaque, a very dense text panel, on what it calls the “National Historic Landmark Pillar” near the center of the room. The other pillar is labeled “Manton Pillar” and bears the nice stone plaque created earlier.

  • CRREL site manager Larry Danyluk, paraphrased in the minutes of a Planning Board meeting:

    Expansions planned include another wing of offices, a new cold room and, in partnership with the Smithsonian, a radio telescope for black hole research. The telescope will be installed for 2-3 years, then moved to Greenland. Ten to twelve people will be added to staff the telescope project.[1]

  • The Dartmouth has an article on student-made graffiti, murals, and decorative painting in society buildings.

  • The renovation of Home 37 by ADD Inc. as the temporary location of Dana library gets a mention in Architect, the AIA magazine. ADD Inc. is the firm of Fred Kramer ’77 (DAM class notes).

  • Kresge Library is turning 40.

  • The Rauner Blog has a post on George Ticknor and the Ticknor Room.

  • The Times has a story on an interesting project at Brown, the recreation of part of a 19th-century natural history museum. Dartmouth also gave away much of its own collection, but a lot of it went to the Montshire Museum. One wonders whether enough dinosaur skeletons and mounted fauna remain there to supply a project in Wilson Hall like the one at Brown.

  • The Dew Construction Corp newsletter for June 2013 (pdf) mentions the Heater Road Medical Office Building and the Dana Library project.

  • The Class of 1974 Bunkhouse at Moosilauke (“the 74tress”), designed by MacLay Architects, has been completed, according to a post at TimberHomes LLC. The default construction mode at Moosilauke has shifted from log (or, in the case of the older bunkhouses, what seems to be conventional balloon framing) to substantial post-and-beam timber framing. If the Ravine Lodge ends up needing to be replaced, will its replacement even be a log building? What wonders could TimberHomes accomplish if it were given the once-in-a-lifetime project of erecting a Ravine Lodge to last 500 years?

  • A resident of the Lyme Road/Richmond School area, commenting at a recent neighborhood planning party:

    There should be a bridge between I-91 and DHMC. That would divert a lot of through traffic away from our neighborhood.[2]

  • Will the architects of the West Stands replacement incorporate any quotations into the new concrete terraces or pediments? Whose woods these are I think I know.

—-

  1. Planning Board, minutes of meeting (4 June 2014), pdf, 5.
  2. Planning Board, minutes of meeting (4 June 2014), pdf, 2.

Will everyone still walk under the porte-cochere?

July 31st, 2014  |  Published in all news, Hanover Inn, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., Hop, the, master planning, other projects

More details on the Inn’s end of the East Wheelock sidewalk:

The sidewalk will be pushed out 3.5′ from its current location. A higher grade pedestrian zone will be provided near the Inn garage entrance. Radisch said the design approach is to create a pedestrian plaza that is shared by cars. The pavement of the porte cochere will be either colored concrete or exposed aggregate. Pavement and pedestrian crossings will be at the same grade.[1]

The Appalachian Trail plaque in the sidewalk will be moved as well.

It does sound like a good plan, having the cars share the plane of the sidewalk, but one wonders whether pedestrians will follow the intended route. Seeing two cars just sitting under the existing porte-cochère, or two empty “travel” lanes, a lot of people might take the shortest route.

—-

  1. Planning Board, minutes of meeting (3 June 2014), pdf, 6.

Alas, Rivercrest

July 29th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Country Club, Dresden Vil./Rivercr., master planning, Sachem Village

Wolff Lyons’ expansive traditionalist neighborhood plan (a post here) for the redevelopment of Rivercrest, on hold for several years, will not be built when the land is finally developed:

Tim McNamara from the Dartmouth College Real Estate Office explained that the College was instrumental in the zoning change creating the GR-4 district. A Master Plan for a suburban village had been created for Rivercrest with 300 mixed type housing units. The project has been on hold due to the recession and wanting to be patient about the transport of TCE from CRREL.

The College will soon determine what the housing demand is considering faculty and graduate students. The Rivercrest project will be designed based on this demand. The current Master Plan is unlikely to be built. When the College finally initiates Rivercrest, it is unlikely to be built out quickly. Tim envisions many smaller phases. If it were put in the queue today for planning, construction would occur in 3- 5 years. The actual start depends on demand at Dartmouth, the availability of capital and the TCE situation.[1]

We also learn that “Sachem will be built out first as that housing is needed for graduate students. There are no plans for the golf course.”

—-

  1. Planning Board, minutes of meeting (4 June 2014), pdf, 5.

More notes about chapels and libraries

July 27th, 2014  |  Published in all news, History, Oxford, preservation, Rollins Chapel

Back in 2012 a post here proposed (1) the construction of an excellent nondenominational chapel primarily for the use of the few student religious groups that do not have their own worship spaces, and (2) the sensitive reuse of the underused Rollins Chapel as a library.

I.   Since then, some remarkable examples of reused churches have turned up. The Times has an article on a 1928 Dutch chapel turned into a house. The big staircase structure placed in the nave seems to work — it makes the room livable and signals its difference from the rest of the building without dominating or appearing permanent.

Check out this astonishing church in Berlin (Bing aerial) that’s being reused as a museum (New York Times Magazine). Frankly, it seems as if it has looked like a museum or a factory all along.

II.   Here are photos of two of the churches-into-libraries mentioned previously:

Library of Lincoln College, Oxford. Meacham photo.


All Saints Church, Oxford (18th century), now the library of Lincoln College.


Library of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. Meacham photo.


St. Peter-in-the-East, Oxford (12th century), now the library of St. Edmund Hall.

This is a recent (2008) conversion not mentioned earlier:

Archives of Balliol College, Oxford. Meacham photo.


St. Cross Church, Oxford (12th century and later), converted to an archives building for Balliol College. Services apparently still take place in the chancel (Wikipedia).

III.   Would Edward Ashton Rollins have wanted his chapel to be reused as a library? Almost certainly not. He spoke at the laying of the cornerstone (Exercises at the Laying of the Corner-Stones… in Google Books), and he sounded as if he shared the views of most other New Englanders born in the 1820s:

Dartmouth College with no Chapel, and no religious worship or instruction, would mean ultimately the cities and villages of our state without churches, and our civilization a delusion and a mockery.

But of course the building of a new chapel would satisfy his first condition, and the Tucker Foundation continues to support the second. Rollins Chapel will always stand at the center of Dartmouth, whatever its function, and the proposal in the post would ensure that the college will always have an active chapel on campus. Events such as the Baccalaureate Service, whose concluding procession Corinne Arndt Girouard depicted in this wonderful photograph, will always have a dignified and dedicated building in which to take place:

Indeed the Tucker Foundation is undergoing changes of its own, being split by the college trustees into a religious group and a public-service group (The Dartmouth). In the long term, especially as smaller faith groups continue to obtain their own worship spaces, it is difficult to see how the split in the foundation would lead to more religious use for Rollins rather than less, but who knows?

It is worth noting that the little overview of the upcoming master plan on the Beyer Blinder Belle site states that “strategies include optimizing the reuse of existing buildings through space assessments.” And that the college’s architectural staff now includes a space planner.

Kendal, sprawling onto the Chieftain property?

July 25th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Connecticut River, Dresden Vil./Rivercr., Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., master planning, other projects

Banwell Architects has a page noting their work with architects RLPS on the Kendal master plan.

In the image provided, a random scatter of foreground parking lots is ornamented by several identical new buildings. The designers are dealing with a lot of topography; but still, this design lacks the coherence or focus of the existing Kendal complex.

Preservation and the Mobility Hub

July 23rd, 2014  |  Published in all news, Hanover Inn, Hood, Hop, the, preservation  |  2 Comments

Dartmouth is somewhat notable because its buildings are completely absent from the National Register of Historic Places. The Sphinx Tomb, privately owned, is on the Register, and the college’s Orozco Murals are listed as a National Historic Landmark, but no college building or historic district appears on either list.[1]

Thus interesting things happen when a construction project with federal involvement triggers a review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The construction of the Ledyard Bridge prompted some research on the riverbank and West Wheelock Street, and the current Mobility Hub is going to change things right in the center of town, so it is undergoing a review as well.

Hartgen Archeological Associates is doing the Section 106 work for this project. The report of a meeting last November reveals an intriguing discussion about the Area of Potential Effect of the Mobility Hub:

The APE is generally described as including the plaza in front of Hopkins Center, the spaces internal to Hopkins Center and Hanover Inn overlooking the plaza, Dartmouth Green, the four streets around Dartmouth Green, and the “frontyards” of the buildings around Dartmouth Green.[2]

L Black recommended looking at Dartmouth College as a potential Historic District with added emphasis on the APE. J Edelmann asked if the college had ever looked into such a thing and J Whitcomb stated that have not and that there isn’t real interest in doing so. J Whitcomb did state that the college has an inventory of buildings, but not to a National Register level of detail.[3]

Concerns were raised that a large scale look at the campus as a whole for Historic District consideration would be well beyond the budget of the project. A suggestion was made for the use of a “hybrid” form. After continued discussion it was generally agreed that the important elements to document are those that define the character of the APE. These include, but not necessarily limited to, building façades, building architectural style, landscaping treatments, hardscape treatments, and other elements that contribute to the overall context of the APE.[4]

It is worth noting that the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards discourage the imitation of historical forms and styles in new construction, so the final bus shelter is not likely to look like it was designed by Wallace Harrison.

—–

  1. No policy against listing seems to exist; the absence might result from a combination of inertia, suspicion of potential regulation, and cost concerns. Occasionally, proponents of listing also are surprised to learn that the school’s principal building, Dartmouth Hall, was completed in 1906.
  2. New Hampshire Bureau of Environment, Conference Report of Monthly SHPO-FHWA-ACOE-NHDOT Cultural Resources Meeting (14 November 2013), pdf, 17.
  3. Report, 17.
  4. Report, 18.

Bus stop construction begins; other items

July 21st, 2014  |  Published in 4 Currier, all news, Dartmouth Row, Green, the, Hanover Inn, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., History, Hood, Hop, the, Larson, Jens, master planning, Memorial Field, other projects, preservation, societies

  • The Innovation Center in 4 Currier has opened (Dartmouth Now). The design appears to be by Truex Cullins, who did the original building.

  • A little film introduces Perdido, the new sculpture on East Wheelock.

  • The Alumni Magazine has put up its electronic archive of every issue since the October 1905 Dartmouth Bi-Monthly, edited by E.M. Hopkins.

  • The post here on the topic of the new bus stop at the Hop complained about the sidewalk in front of the Inn. It turns out that that area is going to be reworked as well (Dartmouth Now). The sidewalk is growing, according to DCREO associate director of real estate Tim McNamara:

    The planned changes to the sidewalk and surrounding areas will effectively create two lanes as well as smoothing out the frost-heaved sections of sidewalk.

    “At present, pedestrians walking down East Wheelock have to pass under the porte-cochère,” says McNamara. “We will relocate the sidewalk to the outside of the porte-cochère so that pedestrians will not conflict with cars and guests coming and going from the Inn.”

    Moving the curb line out beyond the street’s current shoulder will also allow expansion of the Inn’s outdoor dining.

  • The Hopkins Center’s iconic Moore Theatre facade is also getting new double-pane windows (Dartmouth Now) ahead of the planned expansion and renovation. The D has a photo. (The Planner’s Blog has a post on the project)

  • Lebanon Junior High (J.F. Larson) is being renovated and reused, in part as the Spark Community Center. Studio Nexus is working on the building.

  • Project VetCare has purchased the 1907 house at 80 Lebanon Street and plans to rent rooms to three or more student veterans (Valley News). It’s the brown bungalow at the center of this Bing bird’s-eye view.

  • More great aerials: the Shower Towers and Kiewit, showing the committed but incongruous Bradley Plaza, and a 1919 photo of the Green showing the big tent set up for the 150th anniversary celebration. Most intriguing are this aerial and this aerial of Dartmouth Hall on fire in 1935. That was the fire that led Larson to gut the 1906 building and insert new floors and interiors, and to put up the current belfry and the three front gables showing the notable years.

  • One is relieved to see the College Usher (Dean of Libraries Jeffrey Horrell) identified as such in a Commencement photo showing him carrying Lord Dartmouth’s Cup.

  • A tidbit from the biography of the late David McLaughlin, Dartmouth President from 1981 to 1987. On the elimination of fraternities and sororities:

    In hindsight, I am convinced that the wrong approach was taken. Having been in a unique position to restructure the fraternity system, I should[1] have been more decisive early in my presidency, during my “Honeymoon” period. Perhaps I could and should have eliminated the fraternities in their current form and redefined them — brought about some positive fundamental restructuring of the campus social system. Neither my predecessor nor my successors had such a golden opportunity, both being non-Dartmouth alumni and academics and, therefore, suspect from the outset, by alumni and students, as men having little, if any, use for the Greek system. But football-playing, fraternity-member David McLaughlin was a different story. Oh, the howling would have been long and loud, and many on the board would undoubtedly have opposed me, but I believe that I could have brought a majority of my fellow trustees along with me. What I should have said, quite emphatically, in that inaugural speech of mine was, “Dartmouth needs to dismantle fraternities as they exist today.”[2]

  • The Hood now has put up a page on the expansion, with no new info since June 11.

  • Memorial Field construction is set to begin November 17 and finish by September 1 (Planning Board minutes pdf).

—–

[Update 07.29.2014: Link to Planner's Blog post added.]

[Update 07.22.2014: Link to photo of Hop windows added.]

—–

  1. David T. McLaughlin with Howard J. Coffin, Choices Made (Hanover, N.H.: Privately printed 2007), 135.
  2. David T. McLaughlin with Howard J. Coffin, Choices Made (Hanover, N.H.: Privately printed 2007), 136.

Report from the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

July 14th, 2014  |  Published in all news, DHMC, History, Life Sciences Ctr., master planning, Med. School, north campus, other projects, preservation, Rollins Chapel

Several posts here over the past few years have commented on the redevelopment of what’s called the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in Oxford, comparing it to Hanover’s own hospital district north of Maynard.

Rafael Viñoly Architects devised a 2008 master plan for the area that appears in an aerial view before the makeover:

  • The Oxford University Press building is visible at the right, outside the quarter.

  • That church opposite the Press (St. Paul’s) was a coffee shop/bar called FREVD that served as an example here in the Rollins Chapel reuse post.

  • Just beyond the church is the future site of the building of the Blavatnik School of Government (founded 2010, Wikipedia). Circle-in-a-square buildings do have a special history here, but even a person with some fondness for spaceship buildings could find something to quibble with in this project by Herzog & de Meuron.

Oxford Blavatnik site Meacham photo

Blavatnik site, with St. Paul’s at left

Oxford Blavatnik site Meacham photo

View of construction site through hoarding

Oxford Blavatnik site Meacham photo

View of site from west: Templeton Green College, with Observatory

The broad approach taken by the university as developer is interesting: there was archeology beforehand (Neolithic ring ditches!) and during construction there was an artist in residence and a set of public art presentations.

—–

[Update 07.20.2014: View through hoarding added. Thanks to Hugin for panoramic image software.]

The Hanover Mobility Hub is what it’s called

July 5th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Green, the, Hanover Inn, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., Hood, Hop, the, master planning, other projects, preservation, Wilson Hall

The conceptual design by ORW, which won a design award from Vital Communities, shows a redesign and replacement of a group of features in front of the Hop: the pedestrian crossing, bus loading area, bus shelter, empty grass rectangle, etc. It will be a partly-federally funded Town project built on College land by an architect chosen by the College. Even though the original timeline aimed to finish the work in 2013 (Request for Qualifications pdf), it was not built then, but it looks like it was in design last fall (UVLSRPC minutes) and is out for bids now (Construction Data Company).

detail from ORW concept plan

Everything in the proposal is sensitive and unobtrusive, but one should note that this project will affect the appearance of the Hopkins Center. (In fact this will be one piece in the great parade of architectural interventions in the south side of the Green of 2012 through 2020.) During the warmer months, a dense block of trees here would hide several parts of the Hop, setting up the Moore Theatre as an independent pavilion — not necessarily a bad thing, and perhaps a good stopgap until we receive a full and true Hop addition, one that brings the building right up to the street.[1]

Paving

The Site Plan Concept by ORW (pdf page 4) is impressive. The most noticeable change might be the grove of trees. With a pea-gravel floor, this outdoor room screened by two ranks of trees arranged formally on axis with Wilson’s entrance (and a realigned set of Hop plaza steps) will be novel and interesting and civilized. This allee could be exquisitely beautiful in the winter with snow on the bare limbs and the tables.

The street improvements (bulbs, insular pedestrian refuge near the site of the former grassy median) are all important. The crosswalk has a note indicating that it is aligned with an axial view of Baker Library. One proposal is pretty subtle: the use of plaza paving materials (concrete pavers, say) in place of asphalt in the bus/dropoff zone. This is crucially important in reducing the perceived width of the street: Hanover is not that big, and it doesn’t need a five-lane street below the Green. Here’s hoping the paving proposal is realized. (Even if not, the plan will still remove the diagonal parking in front of the hop — good riddance.)

Maybe after this is built and enjoyed for a few years the Town will go further by raising the street level and bollarding off the plaza and the Green. The same thing should be done with the Inn’s porte-cochere and its garage ramp.[2]

Pavilion

One neat detail is a bit hidden: a little visitor’s information pavilion. In the site plan on page 4 it’s obscured by trees but is described as measuring 12 x 15 feet. On page 5 its side is shown as if seen from Wilson Hall.[3]

I imagine this pavilion helpfully blocking the wind in the winter but spending most of its time enclosing a few desultory racks of brochures for Quechee Gorge and Simon Pearce. It could replace the staffed, temporary kiosk that the Chamber of Commerce puts on the Green each summer [check]. But it could be much more: you can see its potential in the photo in the lower right part of page 3, the one showing the café tables and the menu board.

This pavilion could be a little coffee kiosk, a snack bar, or even a real bar, serving drinks out of a window.[4] Not quite the Tavern on the Green or even the Out of Town News in Cambridge, but certainly at least as good as a sandwich kiosk in Bryant Park.

——–

  1. If the Hopkins Center were less of a suburban arts island and more of a conventional urban building (see 7 Lebanon Street), there would be no need for a warming shelter here. The business end of the Hop — everything on this facade except for the theater entrance — would come right up to the street alongside the Inn, and it would provide plenty of commercial rental space for a newsstand or a coffee shop that catered to bus travelers.
  2. At the moment these two asphalt drives are intrusions of the street into the sidewalk, not small portions of the sidewalk opened up to cars. The paving is opposite what it should be (Street View). In both cases, the sidewalk paving should extend all the way down to the street’s edge, and the boundary line should be located there. The existing bollards and floor level/lack of curbing are appropriate, however.
  3. In the perspective view on page 6 the pavilion is a bit hard to read. It is the dark glass box whose roof is the same height as that of the seating area in the foreground. The tall glass box near the center appears to be a possible Hop addition. The document is from July of 2011.
  4. For that matter, couldn’t the Inn breach the eastern wall of its patio and start serving people who sit under the trees here?

Lebanon’s pedestrian mall, other topics

June 28th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Country Club, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., History, Indoor Practice Facility, neighborhoods

  • The minutes of the Alumni Council 208th session note that “A top priority ahead is an indoor practice facility, which is under consideration for pre-campaign fundraising.”

  • The school’s new “Living[-]Learning Communities” site is up and has pages for Triangle House, etc. A link to Sasaki’s MyCampus survey is placed in a box labeled “Help Make Res Life Cool Again at Dartmouth” [ugh].

  • More on the new Thayer School buildings: Dean Joseph J. Helble, interviewed by Karen Endicott in “Growth Factors,” Dartmouth Engineer Magazine:

    Clearly if we grow the faculty substantially — certainly if we double the faculty — we’re going to need a new facility…. We’re in the early stages of conceptualizing what a facility might be, and where near Cummings and MacLean it could be located. We had a first conversation at a faculty retreat in December. The next step is to engage an architectural and engineering firm to begin working with us to explore options and ultimately provide some conceptual design options for us to consider.

  • Yestermorrow Design-Build School in Warren, Vermont offers a Semester in Sustainable Building and Design, a proper exchange program, and Dartmouth students have taken part (photo).

  • A tidbit from the biography of the late David McLaughlin, Dartmouth President from 1981 to 1987. On the D-Plan:

    Now, all these years later, I continue to think even more strongly that the adoption of the Dartmouth Plan was one of the most unfortunate decisions the college ever made — necessary at the time, but unfortunate.

    While the Dartmouth Plan was a matter of expediency, the fact that twenty-some years later it is still in effect represents, I believe, a failure in governance and leadership.[1]

  • The Archives’ amazing on-line collection continues to yield fascinating photos, such as these aerials of the Tuck School under construction; Lebanon Street, showing the then-new McNutt addition to the Inn and the complete Rogers’ Garage (part of which later became Clement Hall, the painting and sculpture studios); the rear of Mass Row and South Fairbanks, giving a rare look at the original exterior of the Beta Goat Room; and the MHMH in an early form, showing Dewey Farm buildings.

  • The decrepit old College Cleaners building on Allen Street (July 2013 Street View, July 2009 Street View showing equal decrepitude) was put up for sale last fall in a foreclosure auction.

  • Take a look at Max Van Pelt’s 2010 architecture class project: a design for a new clubhouse for the Hanover Country Club.

  • Some surplus bathroom sinks from the Hanover Inn renovation are available at Vermont Salvage in WRJ.

  • In 2005, John Thelin, author of A History of American Higher Education, “concluded that Dartmouth’s ‘history is not dispensable nostalgia or an antiquarian slide show. It’s the key to understanding the institution’s enduring vitality'” (Valley News; Thelin nominated Dartmouth to Booz Allen Hamilton’s list of enduring institutions (pdf)).

  • A tidbit from the McLaughlin biography. On the self-perpetuating board:

    I long ago formed a conviction that the number of trustees nominated by a board itself should be no less than seventy-five percent of the board, and that the board and the alumni should work collaboratively on selecting the balance of the nominees, being sure that the qualifications of the nominees would relate positively to the current needs of the board, with respect to specific skills and to spheres of competence. A provision that all nominees be selected through a popular vote discourages highly successful individuals who would serve the institution if invited to do so, but who would not be willing to “run for office.” Having too great a portion of the board chosen by a process that is quite likely to exclude some of the best candidates does not, in my opinion, augur well for achieving optimum effectiveness in governance.[2]

  • The Valley News has stories on Lebanon’s epochal fire of 1964. One of the stories focuses on the pedestrian mall that replaced the devastated stretch of Hanover Street. Lebanon would be the first place to look for anyone proposing to pedestrianize Hanover’s Main Street below Wheelock.

  • A report of last year’s West Wheelock Street design charrette by Plan NH is available (pdf). Excellent ideas: dense housing on the street, a new cemetery entrance, signage indicating the Appalachian Trail route, and a statue of John Ledyard.

  • Just noticed that the Association of Alumni blog was pulled at some point during the last few months.

——

  1. David T. McLaughlin with Howard J. Coffin, Choices Made (Hanover, N.H.: Privately printed, 2007), 80.
  2. David T. McLaughlin with Howard J. Coffin, Choices Made (Hanover, N.H.: Privately printed, 2007), 102.

More thoughts on the Hood addition image

June 24th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Hood, Hop, the, preservation, Wilson Hall

1. Along with the new Minary entrance and perhaps a future Boora expansion of the Hop’s Faculty Lounge, the new entrance pavilion for the Hood will transform the south side of the Green into a row of Modernist glass facades (this Street View shows the current state of the street, with the insular Hop). Tod Williams said:

Charles Moore, who was Billie’s thesis advisor, did very fine work that was just right in the 1980s, but we really need to bring a fresh face to this. It is crucial that we create a visible destination that is woven into the heart of the campus[.]

The one image released so far (post) shows a lot of concrete walling in front of Wilson. Is it blocking off Wilson’s entrance, as the walls do at Steele and Wilder, or is it sheltering a ramp? (The firm does not seem ready to abandon Wilson: “We aim to restore its identity not only as a building with a remarkable exterior, but one where the interior is profoundly connected to its exterior.”)

The Valley News mentions that President Kim put the project on hold and that President Hanlon started it up again. The current design takes advantage of the absence of the Wilson Elm, which fell during September of 2013 (post).

2. The addition sure goes back a ways — it cannot help but swallow or more likely demolish Charles Moore’s layered, recessed gateway. This is unexpected. And it makes one wonder whether this addition occupies part of the Bedford Couryard, as The Dartmouth suggests.

The Hood’s original entrance ramp certainly will no longer be needed. That area might make a good building site. (In the small rendering, is that sculpture in the window Joel Schapiro’s Untitled, currently in the Bedford Courtyard?)

But the sequence of outdoor spaces experienced by anyone walking through the Bedford Courtyard is crucial to the character of the Hood, and unique at Dartmouth. One wonders whether so much demolition and infill are necessary. Have the imperatives that caused Moore to recess the museum rather than make it project it toward the street really changed?

Did Dartmouth choose this image for the press release because it doesn’t show very much?

3. Here is a theory: the deservedly-praised opening of the Maffei Courtyard south of the Hood (Burak image on Flickr) has created a new signature view for the museum that renders the preservation of the Hood’s current iconic gateway and courtyard unnecessary.

4. More on Moore from Tsien, in ArchDaily:

“I can’t remember him ever saying a single word about my work,” Tsien says. “But what I do remember are the crazy field trips he would lead. A single day might include the Neutra House on Catalina, a ride on the 360-degree roller coaster at Magic Mountain, the world’s largest miniature golf course, and a glass of wine at the Del Coronado. He was funny and shy and generous and he taught me that inspiration comes from many places. Making a wonderful place for people drove his work.”

It looks like dining halls are out

June 22nd, 2014  |  Published in all news, master planning, neighborhoods

The Valley News:

Hanlon reiterated his support for the creation at Dartmouth of a “house system” similar to those in existence at a majority of Ivy League colleges. That system, in which undergraduates have a stable affiliation with a residence hall where faculty are present, is aimed at “creating a greater variety of social options on campus,” he said. Dartmouth could create houses in existing residence buildings or clusters of such buildings, but without their own dining facilities, he said. The cost of the undertaking is currently being assessed by architects who recently visited the campus.[1]

What’s left to distinguish the new neighborhood from the Eighties cluster? Perhaps only a faculty residence, if that.

——

Hood addition image released

June 13th, 2014  |  Published in all news, Hood, Hop, the, Wilson Hall

Dartmouth Now has a press release announcing the gift of $10 million to fund part of the Hood’s Museum Learning Center. There is nothing yet on the TWBTA site or the school’s project page. Construction will begin in 2016 and end in 2018, according to the release.

An image accompanying the press release provides a distant view of a Modernist glass exhibition building next to the Hopkins Center, its front facade aligned with that of the Hop. The fairly prominent addition will fill the gap between the Hop and Wilson Hall. The second story of the addition projects toward the Hop in the form of a cantilevered box. This addition is an unexpectedly big move on the heels of Centerbrook’s retiring master plan for the addition.

This new facade will finally give the Hood the prominence it has always deserved, a prominence that architects Charles Moore and Chad Floyd considered giving it when they designed the building during early 1980s. The rendering also raises questions. Is the new overall entrance to the Hood going to be placed in Wilson? The rendering at least suggests that it will be, although the press release does not mention Wilson at all. The addition will block the view of the Hood’s grim old concrete portal, but will it also require the demolition of that portal? That would be very surprising. Will it also block the old route of College Street? One cannot imagine that the architects would propose to block this major travel route.

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