Redesign of Dartmouth’s Hood Museum Sparks Controversy

Architects Billie Tsien and Tod Williams are drawing fire for their redesign of the Hood Museum, originally built by Charles Moore at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. The $50 million renovation, to be finished in January 2019, enlarges the museum’s exhibition space, according to the New York Times’ Robin Pogrebin, but the “ceremonial entrance gateway” made by Moore will be removed under Tsien and Williams’s plan alongside a portion of his original design.

The Texas-based Charles Moore Foundation is concerned: “Not only is the entire north end of the original building being destroyed, but the entire conception of Moore’s building is being fundamentally wrecked,” said director Kevin Keim. “Charles Moore deserves far better than this aggressive, ill-designed, shallowly considered project.”

“It’s almost as if they were getting revenge for what MoMA did to their Folk Art Museum,” said E. J. Johnson, an art history professor at Williams College. “It’s totally insensitive to the Moore building.” Johnson was referring to the controversy surrounding MoMA’s decision to raze the next-door Folk Art Museum site designed by the duo’s firm.

Defending their vision for the building’s redesign, Tsien said: “We’re doing a lot to take care of his legacy. It’s not keeping it exactly the same, but it’s keeping it alive.” Moore, as it turns out, was a thesis advisor of Tsien’s when she was a student at UCLA.