Williams Tsien on a Roll
April 20, 2012
This is the Year of the Museum for Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. While the firm’s new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is preparing for a late May opening, and its Asia Society Hong Kong Center opened in February, the New York firm was just selected by the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, to undertake a major expansion and renovation of its 1985 structure.
The 40,000-square-foot teaching museum, originally designed by Charles Moore and Chad Floyd of Centerbrook Architects, represents a restrained gables-columns-and-cornices version of Moore’s typically bold postmodernism. The choice of Williams and Tsien suggests this will not be a trip to nostalgia-ville, however, since the architects are known for a quiet, modernist approach that emphasizes crafts, materials, and textures.
At Dartmouth, Williams and Tsien will be adding a new, 20,000-square-foot, glass pavilion for an entrance and other functions to connect the Hood Museum to Wilson Hall —a Richardsonian red brick building designed by Samuel Thayer in 1885. The architects also plan to renovate 20,000 square feet within Wilson for extra gallery spaces. As director of the Hood, Michael Taylor, says about the choice of Williams and Tsien , “Their approach respects both buildings, while allowing the Hood to leap into 21st century.”