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Followers of Architectural Fashion
I can’t comment on the interior of the College’s new Black Arts building, but the outside of the structure is now complete, and the College’s latest addition to Hanover’s cityscape leaves a lot to be desired. The façade is a potpourri of slate, architectural stone, molded concrete, glass and zinc; and needless to say, a breathless spokesman will one day explain to us the symbolic references for each material. So it goes with post-modernism.
The slate, to which we have referred in the past, has a lot in common with rusting battlefield wreckage, according to a faculty member in a position to know, and when you add in the stenciled tree images on the central windows of the atrium, it is clear to this viewer that the building will become dated pretty fast.
More seriously, the Black Arts building seems an effort by mediocre administration minds to impose on Hanover an edgy, avant-garde structure, at least as they define it. Ol’ Jim Wright’s street sensibility, which brought us Berry Library’s New England proletarian mill/municipal hospital aesthetic, is trying hard here to assert the point that, no, Hanover is not an intellectual backwater — we can be progressive, too.
The result of that type of thinking is equally evident at the entrance to town on Wheelock Street. Just before you reach Main Street after driving up from the Ledyard Bridge, on your right, stands a boxy edifice that curiously recalls the Black Arts center. The 1971 Banwell Building was considered by its defenders back in the day to be thrillingly modern; its detractors decried its hideous boxiness and vulgar materials. Are you thrilled as you look at it today?
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…