Building a Better Dartmouth: Visual Arts Center and Life Sciences Building
By Paige Franklin
Published on Friday, October 15, 2010
Thayer’s changes may be the talk of the now, but it’s not the only construction that’s going on.
Two other hubbubs of development are the Visual Arts Center and the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Building. The projected date of completion for the Visual Arts Center is Fall 2012, while August 2011 is the projected date for the 1978 Life Sciences Building.
These buildings are reflective of Dartmouth’s serious investment in and dedication to the evolving fields of the arts and sciences.
First, the Visual Arts Center is a much-needed upgrade from the former Clement Building that served as the hub for visual arts for many years. The new structure will at least be built specifically to be a visual arts center. In contrast, the Clement building had been a car dealership until it was converted into the studio for visual arts on campus. Linda Snyder, Vice President, Campus Planning & Facilities, commented that “in order to make a serious investment in the visual arts we really had to have this building because Clement was not up to par.”
The visual arts center was created in close proximity with the Hood Museum and the Hopkins Center.
“We worked closely with the Town to arrive at a design concept which serves both the College and the residents and visitors of Hanover,” Scherding said. Another feature of the arts building will be an open plaza area, which will serve as a “unifying element for the arts district,” according to Scherding.
Fully equipped with a screening room, a new Lowe Theatre, an art forum, a gallery, a sculpture studio, a film studio, space dedicated to photography, a film editing room, a painting studio, senior studios, a drawing studio, a print making studio and an architecture studio the new Visual Arts Center will create a welcoming forum for students who wish to pursue studio art, film and media studies and digital humanities programs.
“It will be wonderful to finally have all the student arts programs located under one roof,” John L. Scherding, Director of Campus Design, said.
The Visual Arts Center will be located in “essentially the boundary with the town of Hanover so the design of the campus on that street really mattered,” Snyder said.
The exterior of the building will have a modern style overall. The Lebanon street facade will display a transparent view of the central atrium of the building and the student gallery.
The architects will work with a “warm palette to design a building which embraces the spirit of craftsmanship,” Scherding said.
The 1978 Life Science Building will be located on the north side of campus in close proximity to the Vail Medical School Building and the Gilman Building. With the goal of providing a state-of-the-art lab building, which is the most energy efficient building of its kind in the country the 1978 Life Sciences Building will contain 30 wet labs with associated support spaces, 30 faculty offices, 15 visiting faculty offices, six post-doc offices, three conference rooms and lounges, one 200-seat theater classroom, two 30 seat flexible classrooms and 6 teaching labs.
There will be a lower level connector from the Vail building to the new building. The lower level will serve as functional space with substantial lab space and lab support areas. The lower level will also contain plant growth chambers for biological studies.
The third floor will feature a patio with a bed of low maintenance plants. These will both help to capture rainfall and keep in concert with the energy efficient theme of the building.
The green house currently located on the top of Gilman will be transferred to the fourth floor of the 1978 Life Sciences Building.
In addition to building the needed classrooms, there was a great emphasis on creating quiet spaces to go work and read in the new building according to Joseph Broemel, Project Manager, Planning Design & Construction for the Life Sciences Building.
“When you look at all the medical school buildings, Dana Library and Gilman, there really isn’t many areas to just sit and read or hang out so they felt it was necessary in this building to create the various lounge spaces and public spaces within the new building.”
Both the Visual Arts Center and the 1978 Life Sciences Building strive to stay consistent with the existing traditional architecture on Dartmouth’s campus while keeping the facilities and resources that Dartmouth offers to its students up to date.