The Visual Arts Center marks the eastern entrance to Dartmouth’s campus and formalizes a mixture of significant buildings into a re-envisioned Arts Precinct for the College. The 105,000 square foot building stretches along Lebanon Street where the institution engages the town of Hanover. At this intersection of the College and community, the project provides a formal lawn and hardscaped Arts Plaza, which invites the public to participate in a renewed focus on the arts at Dartmouth. The Arts Plaza provides a formal entrance from Lebanon Street to the Hood Museum and serves as the centerpiece of the newly defined Arts Precinct.
The building consolidates Dartmouth’s Studio Art and Film and Media departments into a single facility for the first time in the College’s history, and provides spaces for a newly created Digital Humanities program. The facility houses sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, painting and drawing studios as well as state of the art film production, animation and editing spaces. At the heart of the Visual Arts Center is the Arts Forum, a central atrium space, which brings light and air into the core of the urban block. The three-story space is designed to promote cross-disciplinary interaction and the collegial sharing of ideas. Teaching spaces and studios are organized into discrete program neighborhoods, which open to the Arts Forum on all three levels.
The new Visual Arts Center is designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating. The project utilizes a high performance envelope including foam insulation and triple-glazed windows. HVAC systems direct exhaust air through high efficiency heat recovery wheels. The building incorporates a wide variety of energy saving technologies, including in-floor and chilled beam radiant heating and cooling, occupancy sensors for lighting and ventilation, rainwater collection and reuse and daylight harvesting and daylight sensing lighting systems.