Published by the Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth | Catch My Job


Dartmouth is pleased to present today the first architectural designs for the $88 million expansion and renovation of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, located in the heart of the Arts District.

President Philip J. “As an essential component of the Dartmouth liberal arts experience, the arts help Dartmouth students to be curious, empathetic and creative,” said Hanlon ’77. “The revitalized Hop will advance our mission and enhance opportunities for artistic exploration and growth, inspiring students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and welcoming visitors from New England and beyond.”

The expansion and renovation will create approximately 15,000 square feet of new space and transform 55,000 square feet of existing space. It reimagines the functionality and flow of the iconic building by creating open and flexible performance and rehearsal spaces that will meet the current and future needs of students, faculty and artists. It will significantly improve accessibility and technological capabilities and increase visitor engagement by establishing new spaces for collections while integrating indoor spaces and a new outdoor plaza landscape.

“At a time when humanity is dealing with many challenges at home and around the world, our commitment to the expansion of hop recognizes the power of the arts to build bridges and connections when words fall short,” said Laurel Ritchie ’81, chair of the Hopkins Center Board of Advisors and Dartmouth Board. Former Chair of Trustees. “We’ve seen how often words fall short in the last few years. The art community helps fill the void.”

The new design was designed by Wallace K., the architect of Lincoln Center in New York City. Respecting the Harrison’s original 1962 architecture, which retains the building’s overarching frame, distinct arches and other key spaces, including the exterior lobby of the Top of the Hop, Moore Theatre. and Spaulding Auditorium, each of which will be renovated.

Led by the New York office of design practice Snøhetta, construction is scheduled to begin in late 2022, with the new hop opening in 2025.

The campaign has raised $50.1 million to date for Hopkins Center expansion. Supporters include many alumni who have gone on to distinguished careers in the arts, including David Benioff ’92, Connie Britton ’89, Rachel Dratch ’88, Mindy Kaling ’01, Chris Meledandri ’81, and Sharon Washington ’81.

“My life’s dreams in the performing arts have been honored and solidified in every corner of the Hop, and the immersive opportunities of the space have certainly shaped everyone who walks through it. So I am thrilled with Dartmouth’s commitment to continue and enhance Hop’s enduring and transformative legacy,” said Britton, a four-time Emmy nominee and Dartmouth trustee.

Howard L. Hopkins. “At the heart of Dartmouth’s campus, Hop radiates welcome and provides space for generations of communities to learn about each other and the world through artistic expression,” says Gilman ’44 Director Mary Lou Alesky of the Center for the Arts. “Snohetta’s designs build on Hop’s founding vision, creating an inviting environment for our audiences and versatile spaces that support the aspirations of today’s artists.”

During construction, Hop will offer a variety of performances and programs staged in various locations across campus, collaborating with other venues in the region and, when possible, continuing to use spaces within Hop. It will continue to offer an array of digital programs to engage audiences across the country and the world. Before the building reopens, students will have other spaces in which to create, rehearse and present work.

Continued investment in the Arts District

The Hop is located in Dartmouth’s Arts District, which includes the Hood Museum of Art, redesigned in 2019 by Todd Williams and Billy Sien Architects, and the Black Family Visual Arts Center, completed in 2012 by design firm Machado Silvetti. It’s the next milestone in a decade, an investment of more than $190 million in the district and part of the more than $3 billion The Call to Lead campaign, which is dramatically expanding experiential learning opportunities within Dartmouth’s liberal arts educational model.

When it opened 60 years ago, the Hop was one of the nation’s first university arts centers to combine music, theater, dance and film programs under a single roof. In 1988, it was named one of the nation’s exemplary performing arts centers by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dartmouth chose Snøhetta for the project because of the firm’s experience in respecting historic architecture and seamlessly integrating it with pioneering design. The firm’s recent projects include the redesign of Times Square, the Cornell Tech Verizon Education Center, the El Paso Children’s Museum, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and the Ford Motor Co. Research Campus.

“Our continued investment in the Arts District allows every student to have an artistic experience and uses the arts as a window to explore different issues and academic areas. Hop’s expansion is an important chapter in executing this vision,” said President Hanlon.

The project will address the growing demand for the arts on campus, from course offerings that have wait-lists of more than 200 students per term and more than 30 student-led ensembles with no dedicated practice or performance space. It will establish more and better spaces for professional artists, allow for an expansion in the length and number of residencies for artists at HOP, and provide resources for art-related student groups and teams, which will continue to flourish on campus.

An entirely new venue, the Recital Hall, will create an exceptional venue for creating and presenting musical performances and will offer spectacular views of the iconic Baker Library Tower. (Courtesy of Snøhetta and Methanoia)

“With new and upgraded spaces to think, create, experience and connect, Hop’s role as a cultural arts hub will continue to draw more students, faculty, creatives and audiences to Dartmouth and our community,” Alesky said. “It will engage students—future engineers and scientists as well as budding actors and sculptors—and offer a liberal arts education to broaden thought-provoking, challenging ideas.”

A window on the green

The new design faces the green along East Wheelock Street on the north side of the hop. Key design elements of the project include:

  • a Outdoor Plaza It will provide seating, performance platforms and landscaping to create a new central entrance, which will be called forum, which will house an orienting core for Hop and feature a glass facade, double-height ceilings and a grand staircase leading to the upper level. The forum will provide space for people to gather and can be used for performances. The plaza and forum illustrate a connection between the outdoor and indoor environments – an important aspect of the design.
  • A new branch The recital is and a dance studio The plaza will face the green and add about 3,000 square feet of space. The exteriors of the new space establish a natural relationship with the iconic arches of the Hop facade, ensuring a seamlessness and synergy between the historic and contemporary architecture.
  • The The recital is, on the second floor, will be a glass-enclosed room with views of Baker Library Tower and the mountains beyond, with seating for 130 guests. It will feature the latest acoustic technology to support the recording and broadcasting of performances, giving Hop an enhanced capacity for virtual engagement.
  • The dance studio, located below the recital hall, will mark the first time a space dedicated to hop dance rehearsals. Adjacent to the studio will be a suite of changing rooms to support the growing demand of dance classes.
  • A Performance Lab Alumni Hall will be built where it is currently located, featuring flexible seating that allows for a variety of encounters between performers and audience and access to the latest in sound, lighting, projection and broadcast technology. The roof will be raised, and a sprung floor will be installed to dampen bounce and absorb shock.
  • Modernization will be developed Spaulding Auditorium, Hop’s 900-seat theater. The Hop top, a popular gathering place, will receive a significant redesign to enhance its position as a social hub. The lower level spaces of the hop will be reconfigured with a new, flexible Theater Rehearsal Lab To support student work.

“The Hop has long been a center of creative expression on the Dartmouth campus,” said Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers. “We are honored to celebrate the arts through a redesign and expansion project that brings together music, theater, dance and film. As the prototype for an entire generation of academic and civic art centers, the Hop will once again be reimagined as the college’s cultural hub of experimentation, art, and community.”

Change in and out of the hop

The expansion and renovation required changes to some familiar features inside and outside the hop:

The outdoor marquee sign will be reimagined as planners consider new opportunities to share programming information through multimedia signage.

Much-needed student space will be added with hundreds of small mailboxes for undergraduates—Hinman Boxes—located next to the Mail Center. Hinman boxes are no longer used by students, who have been raised in digital communication and often receive packages too large to fit in a Hinman box. Because the boxes hold a special place in the hearts of generations of Dartmouth alumni, parts of the boxes will be kept and memorialized in the new building.

The Jaffe-Friede Gallery will move to a location inside the Forum, giving the location more visibility

The Darling and Zahm arenas will be removed to make way for more flexible social, study, and rehearsal spaces. Located in the center of Darling Hop and just outside the entrance to the Zahm Minary Conference Centre. A fountain and war memorial now located in Jahm will be relocated elsewhere on campus.

Alumni Award winners recognized in Alumni Hall plaques will be recognized in the Blount Alumni Center. This new home is open during major events such as reunions, commencements and homecomings, and provides an opportunity to enhance this recognition through expanded digital media profiles and photographs of each recipient.

The Courtyard Cafe will be in the redesigned Hop and is expected to draw about 3,000 students through the building each day during class. Designers are exploring other opportunities for food and drink within the new space.

Popular workshops—woodwork, ceramics, and jewelry—will remain in their current positions on the lower level of the hop. Access to that floor will be improved with a renovated elevator and a new set of stairs that will better connect to the building’s main entrance.


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