The college has dropped the idea of building a gigantic 750-bed dormitory complex in College Park (Valley News).
In its place, and not necessarily anywhere other than inside College Park, the college is planning to build a very large 350-bed dormitory complex, larger than the East Wheelock Cluster (Dartmouth News).
Trustees approved exploratory work on concepts and designs for a new 350-bed residential complex that will allow existing residential stock to be taken offline for renovation and renewal. Exploration of locations for the new residential space is included in the conceptual work.
Sasaki is no doubt conducting the work.
The college is looking at a “public-private partnership” — really just a private-private partnership, a form of outsourcing — to build a new biomass heating plant somewhere other than in downtown Hanover (Valley News). The college has also created a committee to study the future of the golf course (Valley News, Dartmouth News). The two efforts are directly related, as pages 12 and 14 of the 2002 college master plan (pdf) predicted:
“[T]he Golf Course is our land bank for beyond ten years[.]”
“[E]xpansion will likely be North of Dewey Field, into the Golf Course.”
“Golf course expansion has been contemplated for decades, and in the decades ahead will likely become a reality.”
The college has revealed its new branding strategy (pdf), devised by Original Champions of Design (see news from the Office of Communications, Dartmouth News, The Dartmouth, and Brand New).
The strategy is the largest part of a new identity push that is described in “Telling Our Story” (pdf).
The new identity replaces the mild revamp described in the 2014 brand style guide (pdf). A September 2016 tweet by OCD at Rauner gave a hint that something was up and shows the depth of the firm’s interest in history. (And it’s possible that the image of the commemorative tile on page 50 came from this post; see also this 2013 post encouraging the mining of college history.)
From Dartmouth News:
The new graphic elements include four key items: a Dartmouth wordmark, which is the typographic treatment of the Dartmouth name; a custom-made typeface; a redesigned “lone pine”; and an icon that combines the lone pine with the letter D. Additionally, there is a new palette of colors to complement the traditional Dartmouth Green color, as well as new icons for use in social media, all of which will better communicate the Dartmouth identity, says Anderson.
The typeface is by Jesse Ragan (creator of RudolphRuzicka.com) and is based on the type that Ruzicka designed for use on the Bicentennial plaque, in the Zahm Garden outside Paddock Music Library), and the later Dartmouth Medal. (It is not to be confused with Dartmouth’s other 1969 typeface, the one that was designed by Will Carter and Paul Hayden Duensing and was revived recently for the Inn’s own rebranding.)
Like the typeface, the “D-Pine” mark is a nostalgic call to the early 1970s. It has a pleasing retro-kitsch character and makes one think of orange down vests, canned beer, and what are now called trucker hats. It would make an excellent athletics mark.
The use of the Versailles-like map of the paths on the Green as one of the four suggested patterns picks up an idea from the Year of the Arts (style guide).
And now we have an explanation of the origin of the seal-like House emblems (post, post): “The firm [OCD] also worked with the house communities last year to design a set of [insignia] with a unified design language, which debuted last fall, Anderson said.”
It’s true that the D-Pine, as fine as it might be, does not make an adequate replacement for Dartmouth’s midcentury shield. Perhaps the chart should look something like this?
This is an edited version of a post of seven years ago.
Jonathan Good wrote a proposal for a heraldic coat of arms for Dartmouth College in 1995. As the proposal explains, the new symbol would be an adjunct to the existing coat of arms rather than a replacement for it.
The celebration of Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary in 2019 would be a fine time to adopt the coat of arms. At the last big college celebration of this kind, the 1969 bicentennial, the school adopted the lone pine device that has since become widespread.
A couple of Scott Meacham’s own cut-and-paste efforts to render the proposed arms:
The Friends of College Park and Shattuck Observatory have a petition you can sign to register your opposition to the removal of the observatory and the construction of a dormitory complex in the park. There is a fascinating history of the observatory as well.
But signs are not good. Back in September, the project page listed an upcoming milestone:
November: Review conceptual design results with Board of Trustees. If results are favorable, request Trustee approval to proceed with next phase of Schematic Design.
The Trustees do not seem to have publicly announced their reaction. But the results are obviously favorable, since now the project page says:
March 2018: Review conceptual design results with Board of Trustees. Subsequent project steps are TBD.
This plan must be pretty fantastic if it can convince otherwise rational people that it is worth pursuing. But not apparently so great that it can withstand public scrutiny.
One wishes the planners would at least say why they cannot build four or five well-sited new dorms in established clusters. Allowing that 750 beds are needed, why do they have to be all together? Are the economies of scale so great (or the school’s finances so poor) that the college cannot afford to separate the buildings? Or is it that the only proper building sites are reserved for other buildings whose planning the college does not yet want to acknowledge?
The dorms in College Park could very well end up looking like Sasaki’s Wolf Ridge Apartments at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C.:
That’s some perfectly adequate flat-roofed university housing, built on a ridge.
The first examples of house insignia are being released. They follow the graphical guidelines set out by the college (pdf).
The “house community” on the Hitchcock Estate, known at the moment as West House, has offered its official symbol: an elm tree. The symbol is used in action a few times in a recent Westletter (pdf). The elm refers to but does not depict the wonderful elm in front of Butterfield Hall. (That tree might have been planted by professor/trustee Henry Fairbanks, who built his mansion where Russell Sage now stands in 1864.)
Next we have East Wheelock House, a cluster that was still known as “the New Dorms” during the mid-nineties. One of its constituent buildings, Morton Hall, was damaged in a fire about a year ago and has been gutted and remodeled by the college. Thus the East Wheelock emblem is a phoenix. No relation is intended to the Phoenix Senior Society, a 35-year old Dartmouth women’s society. (The Phoenix Senior Society was also evidently the name given by the Sphinx when a photo of its building was published in 1907.)
An article in The Dartmouth notes that an emblem for each house has been commissioned from the same professional designer. These designs look like seals, especially with the wording around the border (and perhaps in the future the phrase “West House,” whose repetition makes the design look like a coin, can be replaced with the house motto). Most importantly, the designs — so far, anyway — are authentically connected to the houses they represent.
The Dartmouth reports on a letter from the Department of Physics and Astronomy urging the preservation of Shattuck Observatory.
The fact that Dartmouth’s astronomers feel the need to ask the college not to destroy its own observatory is pretty remarkable. The college’s response, that there is “no definitive plan” regarding Shattuck, suggests that removal is on the table.
And it’s important to oppose not only the destruction but also the moving of the 163-year old building. Opposing demolition alone gives the college an out, allowing it to claim to have “saved” the observatory by moving it to some other site.
Jack F. Mourouzis reports on a Sasaki dorm outreach or focus group meeting (“The Death of College Park?“, The Dartmouth Review):
The image on the Campus Services website is identical to a slide in architects’ PowerPoint presentation, save for one detail that is not present on the website: the upper half of the diagram — the grey space of College Park not covered by the circle labeled “Study Area” — is encircled, and labeled “Build.” I asked for clarification, and the explanation was unclear. From my best understanding, the northern area — where Dragon now stands — would be the area where dormitories themselves would be developed, and the area along the ridge behind Wilder would be made into “study areas.”
The “study area” label is probably just a reference to the current Sasaki study, but it is good to hear that the construction will be proposed for College Street north of Burke. If it does not harm the “study area,” then this dorm idea is not quite as absurd as it first seemed. But it is still short-sighted. The land north of Burke should be reserved for the physical sciences, for extensions of the Wilder-Steele-Fairchild-Burke complex. Dragon, of course, was only built in this remote location to get it out of the way of the construction of Berry.
And the underlying craziness of trying to cluster all 750 beds together is still there. This project would be a lot less awful-sounding if it were broken into five chunks and scattered around campus at appropriate sites.
The Dartmouth also had an article about an outreach meeting and site tour.
The October 30 construction update for the College Park dorm concept plan states:
An informational session for College Park neighbors will be held at 4 pm on Wednesday, November 15, on the west side of the Observatory. The group will spend 30 minutes walking the study area at College Park, followed by an informational session at Wilder Hall, room 115. In the case of inclement weather, the walking tour will be cancelled and the informational session will be held at 4:45 pm in Wilder 115.
David Kotz posts on the new lodge and has a link to his photo gallery.
Wow. The use of irregular tree trunks — not hewn timbers, but actual peeled trunks — is audacious. The builders were able to incorporate windows and logs (split and used as paneling) from the old lodge. While campus science buildings and Modernist art galleries are a dime a dozen, the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is one of the most remarkable buildings Dartmouth has ever built.
The 2012 Milone & MacBroom riverfront master plan suggested sites for additional rowing facilities, and for a while the Web page for the Ledyard Canoe Clubhouse replacement has stated that construction on that project “will be coordinated with renovation to the Rowing project.” About a year ago, the Beyer Blinder Belle “Green to Blue” framework plan (a larger image) depicted an intriguing ell coming off the bashful landward facade of the rowing boathouse. It turns out that the college is renovating the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing Boathouse and building a training room addition to a design by ARC Architects of Cambridge, Ma.
This is the site of the addition:
The addition will feature a set of rowing tanks to replace those in Alumni Gym. In plan, the tanks are reminiscent of a Mississippi River “steamboat” casino, only nominally in the water. And one wonders whether there is any way to harness the energy from the erg machines.
Update 12.07.2017: Link to ARC Architects of Seattle replaced with link to ARC Architects of Cambridge.
One hopes that the conceptual design for a housing complex in College Park does not live up to the darkest predictions. And yet one must assume that the plan will not be released until it has been blessed by the Trustees.
The key justification seems to be that College Park is the only site left on campus that can fit 750 beds. Well, the Green is the only site left on campus that can fit 1,000 beds — what difference does that make? The idea that all of the needed beds must go into a single complex — far larger than any complex ever built at the college — seems entirely arbitrary, a wholly-self imposed restriction.
Dartmouth News reported on September 17:
Board members also received updates on a number of construction projects that are in the planning stages or under consideration, including the demolition of Gilman Hall, early designs for the Arthur L. Irving Institute building, the renovation of Murdough Hall, and the potential construction of new residence halls.
The College Park construction update for September 25 states:
An engineering firm will begin the College Park land survey on September 25. This work will continue through late-October.
Noise monitoring devices will be set up on October 2 in and around College Park, including 3 locations along North Park Street. The equipment will be removed in mid-October.
Is the noise monitoring meant to establish a baseline level for comparison to later construction noise, especially the noise of blasting?
The Dartmouth News story on the concept plan states that “Land surveying and site analysis of the west end of the park will be done over the next six weeks by Sasaki Architects[.]” During the second half of the nineteenth century, classes in surveying were a part of the undergraduate engineering curriculum, and a survey of College Park was a typical and probably mandatory subject of a class project each year. Student surveying teams would pose for group photos in the Bema. This is probably the most-mapped plot of land in Hanover. (And recently, students in Art History 34 plotted out a half-scale footprint of a gothic church in the Bema.)
Marlene Heck has a letter opposing the project in the Valley News.
The Dartmouth has an article and an editorial about the project.
Here’s what the Town’s 2003 master plan said about College Park:
Having shown great leadership in conserving the Mink Brook Nature Preserve, Dartmouth College should continue, where possible with the Town and others, to play a constructive role in the stewardship of special open areas. The College should preserve its special places such as the Green, the Bema, College Park, and Occom Pond.
For some reason Wikipedia has been attributing the design of Shattuck Observatory to nineteenth-century Boston architect Gridley J.F. Bryant, at least in the article about Bryant. That article also credited Bryant with the design of Dartmouth Hall, a misattribution that crept into the main Wikipedia article about Dartmouth as well as an article in the Keene Sentinel.
The September 19 letter from John Scherding to North Park Street neighbors states that “if we decide to move forward, the Bema, Bartlett Tower, and the special character of the park would be preserved.” The same phrase appears in the FAQ. What’s missing? Shattuck Observatory.
In an interview with the Valley News, Rick Mills said “When you triage the things up there, the things that rise to the absolute top are Bema and the Bartlett Tower.” There is no mention of the historic observatory, designed by Ammi Burnham Young and built in 1854.
In the September 20 Dartmouth News story by Susan Boutwell, the Bema and Bartlett Tower are described in some detail, but Shattuck Observatory is not mentioned at all. The College Park project page has no mention of existing architectural resources — only “the distinct topography, ecology, and landscape” of the site. The map is described as showing “our residential neighbors and the natural spaces to be preserved.” Of course the map also shows Shattuck Observatory, but perhaps it is not to be preserved.
One needn’t belong to the frozen-in-amber school to sense that Shattuck really should remain where it is. What if its telescopes are removed and it is surrounded by new dormitories? Fine — make Shattuck into the Professor’s House of this new House Community. Turn it into a secret society hall; put a couple of offices in there for grad students; but do not remove it.
The college has hired Sasaki Associates to come up with a conceptual design for a massive dormitory complex to be shoehorned between the Wilder Lab and Shattuck Observatory, on the edge of College Park (College Park Conceptual Design page, Dartmouth News article, Valley News article ).
The design brief calls for a capacity of 750 beds. That is more than twice the size of the East Wheelock Cluster (now East Wheelock House), including the later McCulloch Hall:
One of the goals of the conceptual design process is to “respect the ridge.” Keeping the buildings low, especially at the upper end of the site, will require the college to use all of the buildable land within the entire study area. This complex is likely to be a Byker Wall (Wikipedia, Google aerial).
(To truly respect the ridge, of course, the college would have to stack all of this dormitory space into a tower sited behind Richardson Hall. That idea was raised and dropped in the 1960s.)
College Park has been encroached upon for decades and is significantly smaller now than when it was created. The park could be a necessary building site some day, but the college is certainly not there yet. (And construction costs will be higher than average here because of the limits on access, the necessity of protecting trees and historic buildings, and the fact that the whole site is made up of ledges of bedrock: there will be a lot of dynamite required.)
This site was chosen because it is the only one that can hold all of the 750 beds the college believes to be necessary. The college could stand to think more creatively — there are plenty of sites around campus where new beds could be built. There is space for hundreds of beds behind Mass Row and in front of Davis Varsity House, both sites that have been reserved for residential use for years. There is a site behind Fahey/McLane. Closer to College Park, Andres could be extended to the west. Ripley and Smith could be extended to the west and east. Richardson Hall could stand to have a rear ell added, incorporating an arched gateway to the park.
While a small building or addition at the bottom end of the College Park site would be a fine idea, a double-East Wheelock Cluster simply is not appropriate here. One would love to see the campus-wide master planning that led to the conclusion that a great wall of buildings on a cramped site of such sensitivity and meaning was the best move to make.
The college is considering whether to shutter its historic Hanover Country Club.
Even if the college were to close the club, of course, it would never sell off the entire golf course. The golf course has been officially viewed as a “land bank” for future institutional development for at least 15 years (see the 2002 master plan pdf).
This website has proposed that if the south end of the golf course is to be developed, it should be built up with some density using “town” forms rather than as an extension of the grassy campus, irrespective of ownership (see posts of 2008 and 2012).
Whatever form it takes, the development of the south end of the golf course should not require the closure of the Country Club. The Club itself has planned since at least 2000 to move its clubhouse to Lyme Road, and one could imagine new holes being added to the east of the course, near the Rugby Clubhouse, or to the north, in the Fletcher Circle neighborhood, where residents have had concerns about groundwater contamination migrating from CRREL. If the college really needs the land near Dewey Field for more buildings, it should simply shift the golf course instead of destroying it.
Politics are usually kept out of this blog, but it’s hard not to marvel at the President’s statement following the killing of a pedestrian by a white supremacist in a vehicle attack just east of the Water Street Garage:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of bigotry, hatred, and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.