Visual Arts Center
In the school’s official video, the shots of the Visual Arts Center start at 3:19. Several of the shots of the rooftops of the Hop appear to have been made with a radio-controlled helicopter: a private drone surveils Hanover.
In the section of the film called The Builders [8:04], the emphasis is on cross-disciplinary work. That was one of the original goals of the Hopkins Center as well, but now that the visual arts have moved to their own building, the Hop seems to be left with just the performing arts for cross-pollination.
Ken Burns has a nice quotation: Art “turns out to be the bright burning sun of this particular solar system called Dartmouth.”
Alex Hanson’s thorough article in the Valley News adds yet another possible name to the hat: The Black VAC.
Dartmouth has an announcement of the installation and one-year loan of Crouching Spider.
The Board has opened a new front in the struggle to give the Black Family Visual Arts Center an informal name:
Two weekends ago, we celebrated the opening of the Black Family Visual Arts Center (BVAC). Not only is it a spectacular building, but its presence has also transformed the plaza between the BVAC and the Hop into one of the most beautiful and inviting spots on campus, enhanced by Ellsworth Kelly’s “Dartmouth Panels” on the brick façade of the Hop. The arts district formed by the Hop, the Hood and the BVAC creates a distinctive magnet for our campus and provides a splendid backdrop for the Year of the Arts at Dartmouth.
Whether called the Black Arts Center or the BVAC, the building is remarkable. The dedication was noted in the Buildings & Grounds blog of the Chronicle, and the first review of the building has appeared, in Hyperallergic. Unique photos of architectural models for the building are posted at Dartbeat. Donald Kreis has a perceptive review on Vermont Public Radio.
The accompanying plaza, built by specialized contractor Landshapes, is visible in a number of photos from the school’s Flickr photostream. There are also photos of the installation of Louise Joséphine Bourgeois’ giant metal spider sculpture in the plaza.
It is difficult to believe that Dartmouth was content to maintain a parking lot on this site for the last several decades:
The new arts plaza is one of those places that changes its site radically and yet seems inevitable.
[Update 11.04.2012: Kreis review link added.]
- Board Chairman Stephen F. Mandel, letter to alumni (26 September 2012). ↩
As seen at Dartmouth Now, the Year of the Arts logo initially reads as a cluster of cinema searchlight beams:
But of course it is a map of the paths on the Green, with north to the left. A larger version of the logo at the festival’s website takes on the appearance of a print, or perhaps a painting.
Coverage of the opening of the Visual Arts Center may be found in The Dartmouth and Dartmouth Now. Hood Director Taylor speaks about the Kelly sculpture and its aircraft-grade aluminum in video. The Valley News has a story on the Hop at 50, and the Year of the Arts site has a timeline of the arts on campus beginning with 1962.
The building uses two or three different typefaces in the exterior lettering, interior donor plaque, and room numbers.
The building will be dedicated on the 14th (Dartmouth Now).
Dartmouth Now has an article on the installation of Ellsworth Kelly’s sculpture on the east exterior wall of Spaulding Auditorium (thanks Matt).
The Dartmouth work is composed of five monochromatic aluminum panels, each painted a single block of color—yellow, green, blue, red, and orange. The hard-edged shapes of Dartmouth Panels play off the rounded roofline of the Hopkins Center’s Spaulding Auditorium and echo the color spectrum and basic building blocks of visual experience.
The installation of Dartmouth Panels begins today.
[Update 07.14.2012: Artdaily.org has an in-progress photo with the complete set of five panels. They do indeed match the pattern of the 2011 lithograph. The Hood has the press release (pdf). Dartmouth's Flickr photostream has some excellent photos of the unloading and installation.]
[Update 07.13.2012: The Dartmouth Now photo shows the work with three of the five panels up.]
Prior to founding their practice in 2007, Mr. Oudens and Mr. Ello held senior leadership positions at Machado and Silvetti Associates[.]
The work will improve the air conditioning and expand the food-service area eastward to the front wall of the building, taking over the narrow eating area and corridor that occupied that space (The Dartmouth).
[Update 07.07.2012: Details on reconfiguration of spaces and link to The Dartmouth added.]
- The Dartmouth has a story on Bean’s Art Store, the little shop near the Hop (behind Ledyard National Bank) that has been furnishing Studio Art students with their squishy erasers and tubes of paint for decades.
- Dartbeat has a post with photos on the progress at the Visual Arts Center. Big Green Alert Blog notes that the power lines along Lebanon Street are going under ground.
- The Boston Globe links to a Valley News story on the completion of a large part of the Inn renovations (see also Dartmouth Now. The Rauner Library Blog has a post on the Inn’s predecessors on the site.
- The Christian Science Monitor reports that the Interior Department has designated the Connecticut River and its watershed the first National Blueway in the country. The Valley News reports on the septennial perambulation of the riverine New Hampshire-Vermont border by the two states’ attorneys general.
- The Valley News reports (again) that the Friends of Hanover Crew now have permission to build a rowing dock at Wilson’s Landing, a part of Fullington Farm. Hanover’s crews plan to move their boats out of Dartmouth’s boathouse and into a new boathouse to be built at the farm. An interesting report (pdf) from Engineering Ventures mentions that when the Friends of Hanover Crew bought their 2.4-acre portion of the farm from Dartmouth in 2008, they promised to allow Ledyard Canoe Club members to store 20 canoes and kayaks on the site, probably in the basement of the existing barn.
- Dartmouth Sports announced some time ago that the new basketball office suite was completed in the old Kresge gym space in Berry Sports Center (via Dartmouth Now).
Thanks to Bruce for his proposal that as part of a Piazza Nervi project, the entrance to Thompson Arena should be redone (Big Green Alert Blog). This is a good idea, since Thompson’s entrance definitely needs replacing. But while one does notice that Thompson’s front facade is not parallel to Leverone’s, the lack of alignment is not necessarily a problem: plenty of urban spaces, especially in Italy, lack any right angles at all. And if the facades were made parallel, the difference in heights might become more noticeable. Who knows… The 2000 student life master plan (pdf) notes that the entry into Thompson Arena is obscured by existing houses along Park Street:
There are, however, opportunities to reinforce the entry to Thompson Arena by moving or demolishing the College-owned houses on Park Street in front of the current entry. Doing so would relate the Arena to its cousin, Leverone Field House, both designed by Pier Luigi Nervi, and complete an intention planned but never realized.
- The school’s Flickr page has a photo set showing the new ’53 Commons renovation of Thayer Dining Hall. The photos, along with plans, show that the red awnings in the main dining room have been removed and the bays opened up to allow free passage from north to south. Upstairs is where the real changes have taken place: there are lots of dining rooms up there now. The long, narrow Topside space is a dining room; the space above the leather-paneled Tindle Lounge/Paganucci Room is a private dining room; the spaces above the lobby (formerly offices?) look to be dining or meeting rooms. It is not clear where they put all the DDS offices that used to occupy the second level. At least some of the quadripylons out front were removed for the project (Street View): will they be replaced? Some kind of bollard seems necessary there, but the area might be more interesting with a different solution.
- The 1994-era Lone Pine Tavern in the basement of Collis has been replaced by something called One Wheelock. It seems that a change in focus was needed, but did the room really have to be stripped bare? Perhaps people were stealing the memorabilia.
- The Rauner Library blog has had too many interesting posts to count. See posts on the mathematics funerals and duckboards on the Green.
- Dartmouth Health Connect opened a while back (The Dartmouth). It occupies the former Omer & Bob’s location following a renovation by Haynes & Garthwaite. It turns out that H&G designed Omer & Bob’s new location in Lebanon.
- Lebanon is selling its Junior High School building, designed by Jens Larson (Valley News, Valley News). Note the similarities to Baker Library:
- Some interesting things going on at other colleges: Yale is building a freestanding college in Singapore, designed by KieranTimberlake (Times article on the controversy). The University of Virginia is building a facility for its squash team at the Boar’s Head Sports Club, part of a fancy private resort (UVaToday). The Boar’s Head Inn is owned by the U.Va. Real Estate Foundation.
- That Hanover war memorial that stands in front of the Town Building on Main Street? (Street View.) It was previously associated with the Green, where one would expect a war memorial, and shows up in front of the Inn in an old photo that was published in a recent story in the Mirror. It is interesting to note that a nearby space, just to the east of the Inn, later became a war memorial garden for the college.
- “Chaste” might not be the right word, but “tasteful” is close: TruexCullins’ Buchanan Hall addition is very nice (Street View, school project page).
- The Rauner Blog’s post on the Ski Jump features this photo of the jump’s outrun. The jump is gone now, but the Golf Course remains. Does that view show the same site as this one, from the Hanover Country Club’s map of the various holes? More historic images of the jump at Skisprungschanzen.com (via Big Green Alert Blog).
- More information on the bypass mentioned here earlier, from page 14 of the 2002 Campus Master Plan (pdf):
To reduce congestion, Hanover has explored alternatives to bypass the Inn corner. A Connector Highway linking Route 120, Route 10 and I-91 would be very desirable for both Hanover and the Medical Center, but Lebanon has not supported this proposal. The College should continue to study this and other by-pass proposals, making College properties available if necessary.
June 11th, 2012 | Published in all news, Hanover/Leb./Nor'ch., Heat Plant, History, Hood, Larson, Jens, master planning, May 2006 photos, Memorial Field, other projects, preservation, Sargent Block, the Hop, Visual Arts Center
The nearing completion of the Visual Arts Center points up the current underuse of the site next door at the corner of Crosby and Lebanon Streets.
This is a large and important site. Whatever building goes here — let’s assume it is an arts-related building — will be visible to visitors arriving on Lebanon Street. It will need to be a gateway building, as the 2000 downtown Hanover plan illustrates so thoroughly. The Rogers Marvel 2002 Arts Center Analysis (pdf) also emphasizes the potential of this site on page 38.
The first impulse is to follow the footprint of the existing low-scale facilities building. But this site is not only large, it is also unusually malleable. The college and town might be able to relocate Crosby Street in radical ways to completely reshape the ground available for the gateway building.
Why might Crosby be changeable? Because it has been changed in the past. Crosby Street was first laid out in 1872, to separate the state farm on the east from the state college dormitory site and other buildings on the west.
Crosby Street originally ran straight through to Lebanon Street. It was not until the early 1960s that Crosby’s southern delta was given its current incongruously suburban form. When Dartmouth sought permission to close down South College Street for the Hopkins Center, the Town asked Dartmouth to rework Crosby Street in return, aligning the street with Sanborn Road to form an ex post facto four-way intersection.
Should we worry about Sanborn Road if Crosby is realigned? No. In fact, the downtown Hanover plan proposes in text and an illustration that Sanborn Road be blocked off. Instead, Hovey Lane will give access to this neighborhood through a short outlet punched through to South Street (see map below).
Would the abandonment of Crosby Street’s current alignment open up any possibilities for a college building on the corner? Each of the following proposals assumes that McKenzie Hall/Shops on Crosby is preserved; Sanborn Road is rerouted; and commercial buildings are built on the college land along the south side of Lebanon Street.
II. The Maximum Arts
The gateway building could expand to fill all of the empty land added to the corner:
This plan would block an important view of Memorial Field and make Crosby Street into a narrow tunnel. A good use of space, but not good preservation or townscape.
Some variation on this plan, however, might be a good one:
III. The Minimum Arts
Crosby could be pulled to the west, adding a big empty lawn in front of Memorial Field:
This plan would not make efficient use of space, and its creation of new lawns would not actually improve the view of Memorial Field.
IV. The Square and Temple
A big public square could be carved out of the surrounding buildings:
If the big square feels barren, a little temple that shares an alignment with nothing else could be dropped down in front of Memorial Field.
This plan would take advantage of the interesting fact that both Memorial Field and St. Denis Roman Catholic Church were designed in the early 1920s by Jens F. Larson. The two buildings appear to be perpendicular to each other, both aligned with Crosby Street.
[Update 11.17.2012: Broken link to Memorial Field image fixed.]
Dartmouth recently announced that it has “initiated a renovation and expansion project for the Hopkins Center and will be selecting an architect in the coming year.” Because the Hop is so large, loved, and important, this is sure to be an interesting project.
On the occasion of the Hopkins Center’s 50th anniversary, the alumni magazine has published a photo essay on the Hop of today and collected reminiscences.
Reading Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker article mentioning the Pixar building and how Steve Jobs concentrated the restrooms in one place as a way of forcing interaction among employees reminds one of the Hinman Boxes and their placement in the Hopkins Center with the specific intention of exposing students to the arts.
The Black family’s gift for the Visual Arts Center includes the funding of an artwork by Ellsworth Kelly that will be attached to the east facade of Spaulding Auditorium this year (The Dartmouth). See this Street View for the likely site.
The publicity around the Hood expansion and the arts center refers to “Dartmouth’s new Arts District.” It seems that neither “Hopland” nor “SoWhee” has taken hold.
There is the challenge of adding to a notable building by a big-name architect, Wallace Harrison. The various firms doing careful insertions in and around the Harrison-planned Lincoln Center, including Tod Williams Billie Tsien, would be worth considering (Lincoln Center page, Times Topics).
Two recent master plans have proposed that the college graft a variety of additions onto the sides of the Hop:
- The 2001 Rogers Marvel arts center master plan (pdf, see also additional information from the firm and Chad Smith, Architect).
- The 2001 Brook McIlroy Downtown Hanover Vision plan, specifically the Spaulding Auditorium proposal.
It will be interesting to see where the new additions will go and how they will look. Will the Hop’s studio range really be demolished and replaced, as the Rogers Marvel plan proposes? Will the blank wall on Lebanon Street really get a row of shops, as the Brook McIlroy plan proposes? Will a northern addition expand the Hop proper toward the Green, alongside the original and iconic Moore Theatre? Stay tuned.
[Update 07.07.2012: Link to DAM article added.]
At the end of last month Dartmouth has named its new visual arts building The Black Family Visual Arts Center (Dartmouth Now, The Dartmouth). The name honors Leon ’73 and Debra Black, who donated $48 million to the project.
The photo accompanying the article in The Dartmouth shows the building before its Norwegian slate exterior was attached. The Planner’s blog had a post in January about the slate going up. See also before and after Street Views of Brewster and Clement halls, the buildings that were demolished to make room for the arts center.
Mark di Suvero’s X-Delta has moved again, this time to a site in front of Berry Library. It will move back to its permanent site below the Hood after the Visual Arts Center is finished.
And Richard Nonas’s 1976 sculpture Telemark Shortline is back:
See also Google Street View.
What does not come across in the close-up rendering of the Hood vista is just how important that newly-exposed view is to Currier Street (formerly South College Street):
The Visual Arts Center project is starting to move along:
- Bruce Wood at the Big Green Alert Blog had a photo of the VAC excavation in a post back in August (direct link to photo). Ephemeral views like this one showing the Hood’s rear facade are always interesting.
- The Dartmouth had interesting news on the discovery of a larger-than-anticipated granite ledge under the Visual Arts Center site. One gets the sense that to a North Country builder, a “ledge” is a very particular thing, and always under ground. Since the nineteenth century there have been lawsuits over unexpected ledges, and contractors had to use dynamite to create a foundation for Richardson Hall in College Park.
- The Dartmouth notes some of the future building’s features in a construction-related issue of The Mirror.
Bruce Wood at the Big Green Alert Blog has some up-to-date photos of the site preparations.
The architects have their VAC page back up, but without significant information. The school’s design office has been able to go a year without updating their general projects page, indicating the depth of the slowdown.
The latest Alumni Magazine notes the critique of an architect, that the VAC does not fit into its context. Comments available at NPR and The Chronicle say similar things. It will be interesting to see the final result of this project, considering that much of the building’s context is not red brick at all, which is what the critics seem to refer to. The building will stand right across the street from C&A Pizza:
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[Update 03.31.2013: Broken link to Berry & Son removed.]
Rauner Library has provided a remarkable photo of the Butterfield Museum embraced in a death-hug by Baker Library. This is a view of the south and east facades of the east wing of Baker, looking to the northwest. The problem of Butterfield appears to have had a significant influence on the design of Baker.
Phi Delt reconstruction continues, The Dartmouth reports.
It is not new, but Forever New: A 10-Year Report provides a comprehensive photo of the interior-block facades of Kemeny-Haldeman not available elsewhere.