Williams Tsien Plan for Hood Museum Sparks Controversy
Billie Tsien and Tod Williams have created a plan for the expansion and renovation of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College—a 1985 postmodernist building originally designed by Charles Moore. But many in the architectural community are raising concerns about the proposed transformation—and pointing out the irony of Tsien and Williams’ involvement.
Speaking to the New York Times, Williams College art history professor E. J. Johnson, author of Charles Moore: Buildings and Projects 1949-1986, denounced the design as “totally insensitive to the Moore building,” going so far as to speculate that “it’s almost as if they were getting revenge for what MoMA did to their Folk Art Museum.”
The American Folk Art Museum building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and built in 2001, met its unceremonious end in 2014 when the Museum of Modern Art demolished the structure in order to make room for expansion, despite widespread outcry from the architectural community.
“It’s a terrible irony that Tod and Billie are caught in this situation,” Robert A. M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, told the Times, “considering that they were so visibly upset about the demolition of their Folk Art Museum.”
Tsien and Williams did not respond to a request for comment.
The $50 million Hood expansion will add five galleries and three classrooms and reimagine the building’s entrance. In a video from Dartmouth about the expansion, Provost Carolyn Dever explained, “The Hood Museum sits right in the center of our campus, but it’s hard to find the front door.”
The renovation is slated to be completed in January 2019.