The Hood project is under way

Work on the demolition of a part of the Hood and the construction of a new wing has begun (Dartmouth Now).

The elaborate plan to move the Joel Shapiro sculpture (pdf) has been carried out, and the sculpture stands in the Maffei Arts Plaza by the VAC (Dartmouth Flickr). There is an informational exhibit about the project in the old museum shop (Expansion Updates). The project page has an updated view showing the building’s name on the north facade. The Hood Museum is opening a temporary gallery in the former Amidon Jewelers location downtown (Dartmouth Now).

Hood Museum copper bridge detail, Meacham photo

Hood upper bridge, view to south

It is not something the architects usually do, but one wonders whether the gate could have been preserved within the new museum as a ruin or a fragment.

The Times quotes President Hanlon as saying “We are certain that Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have come up with a design that respects and preserves the core building and allows us to both repair the problems that exist and expand the museum for future generations of Dartmouth students.”

One of those problems, of course, is the obscurity of the entrance. The big gateway advertises the museum well enough, but once you go through it, you are on your own.

Hood Museum court, view to east, Meacham photo

Hood west facade at court, view to east

Curbed.com has an article with some alternative site plans proposed by Kevin Keim of the Charles Moore Foundation. Although the southern expansion would infringe on the dignity of the VAC, it really is implied by the way Moore had the museum trail off in that direction. See also the Metropolis article.

Hood Museum south facade, view to north, Meacham photo

Hood south facade, view to north

The word is that this facade is to be left undisturbed. In this context, that means “relatively undisturbed.” There will be some slicing and dicing at the righthand corner of that arched opening, as shown in this image.

Seven Days Vermont has an interview with new Hood Director John Stomberg. The Dallas Morning News reports that TWBTA has been hired to design the Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.

Hood Museum main courtyard, view to north, Meacham photo

Hood courtyard viewed from the south

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[Update 08.17.2016: Coding error corrected, wording of first paragraph clarified.]

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The Black VAC

VAC sidewalk, Meacham photo

Love the broad sidewalk on the Lebanon Street side. It would be even better with some ground-level shops, but this is a good start.

VAC rust, Meacham photo

This is the largest of the famous rust stains, and the only one that really detracted from the building’s appearance last summer. The concrete wall obviously shouldn’t have been pulled out far enough to catch the runoff from the Norwegian slate, that’s all. There is no point in trying to keep up with cleaning it as long as the stone still contains iron oxide. Instead the school should (1) install a drip rail to channel the runoff, (2) cast a little Modernist concrete gargoyle for this spot, or (3) embrace the stain and commission an artist to incorporate it into an evolving work of art, perhaps by using stains in other colors.

VAC interior, Meacham photo

That exterior board-formed concrete wall continues inside the building.

A detailed article from structural engineering firm Lemessurier (pdf) on the construction of the VAC contains these interesting tidbits:

Machado and Silvetti Associates designed a basement in the building that was conveniently situated directly atop the highest ridge of the bedrock spine. Although the basement required leveling of appreciable regions of bedrock, this geometry of the building allowed for a stable, flat bearing surface in the central portion of the structure.

To increase the overall efficiency of the foundation placement, the contractor suggested that larger pits be dug by hand while some shafts continued to be slowly drilled elsewhere on-site. The proposed hand digging involved timber lagging to support the excavation. A single worker shoveled soil into a bucket by hand, and the bucket was then lifted from the pit base to the surface. Ironically, a simple technique used to excavate mine shafts in Thoreau’s era would become critical to the success of a state-ofthe-art 21st-century construction project. So atypical was this type of construction that the workers and engineers present at the site came to refer to the work as 1850s foundations.

The curved wood panel ceiling is the only surface in the building not rectilinear in its expression. The art forum is otherwise bound by straight lines that are vertical, horizontal, and even diagonal as the grand staircase descends from the upper levels. The columns, however, are set away from the main forum to allow an unimpeded view of the central space as the visitor walks the hallways between offices and studios. The absence of columns in the immediate vicinity necessitates serially cantilevering floor framing—in other words, cantilevers off cantilevers off cantilevers—extending into the forum space and supporting loads by means other than direct column support.

VAC window onto Hop, Meacham photo

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Some campus photos and notes

Steam Tunnel access grate on the Green, Google Street View

Steam Tunnel access under Green, Meacham photo

Steam Tunnel access grate on the Green, underside

The first stage of the steam tunnel’s construction, south of this grate, was a test meant to determine whether such a project would be economical in a ledge environment.

image

North bank of HBs at former entrance to Hop, view to west

Until recently, students entered the Hop at the end of the room. The entrance was closed off and a replacement of the same configuration built just to the north.

Hop interior at Minary entrance, Meacham photo

The new Hop entrance, view to northwest onto Zahm/Memorial Garden

(Have the memorial plaques attached to the Inn there been moved to Memorial Field? That would make sense. This is not their first location anyway.)

Triangle House, Meacham photo

Triangle House entrance (west) facade

Even more than the society houses on the south side of Webster Avenue, Triangle House has a well-used student entrance on one side, shown here, and a formal street entrance on the other.

LSC bike pavilion, Meacham photo

LSC bike pavilion

This elaborate bicycle shelter for the Life Sciences Center joins a couple other pavilions in the area.

Gilman plaque, Meacham photo

Plaque moved from Gilman to LSC

LSC name lettering, Meacham photo

The town changed the street address of the building to get it to match.

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