Hop to undergo $75 million expansion

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 2/10/21 1:36pm

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by Madeline Killen / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth has commissioned architecture company Snøhetta to lead an expansion of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Dubbed “the Hop project,” the initiative aims to raise approximately $75 million for its construction and related programming, $25 million of which has already been amassed. 

The expansion, which the College announced on Wednesday, will see the creation of three new recital halls, including a multi-purpose performance space. The project will also enhance the flow and acoustics within the building, upgrade the existing rehearsal rooms and improve the building’s layout, according to the College’s announcement.

According to Hop director Mary Lou Aleskie, the design will also include more classrooms and study spaces, a more accessible entry to the Hop and increased soundproofing in auditoriums — currently, Aleskie said, sound bleeds have the potential to cause disruptions to performances happening simultaneously.

“We want to make sure that we’re thinking about acoustics and flow so that the building is more efficiently usable,” Aleskie said. 

According to Aleskie, design planning for the Hop’s expansion is projected to finish by the end of 2022, when construction is slated to begin.

The Hop project, which follows Dartmouth’s $55 million investment in the Black Family Visual Arts Center, completed in 2012, and $50 million for the recent redesign and expansion of the Hood Museum of Art, is part of a $180 million investment that the College has made in the arts over the last decade and The Call to Lead campaign, a $3 billion fundraising initiative launched by the College in April 2018. 

The Hop first opened in 1962 and was designed by American architect Wallace Harrison. According to the College’s announcement, Snøhetta was chosen for its “extensive experience” combining historic architecture with “forward-looking design” and its expertise in “creating dynamic relationships between interior and exterior spaces and with existing built and natural landscapes.” Snøhetta’s past notable projects include the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, the Alexandria Library, and a redesign of Times Square. Recently, the company also won a competition to design the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota.

“We’re especially excited to collaborate with the Dartmouth team, as their vision for the Hop aligns with our own strengths in unlocking the value of design and connecting people with places,” Snøhetta founding partner Craig Dykers said in the College’s press release. “Particularly in arts and cultural projects, our transdisciplinary approach opens up unexpected possibilities for engaging both audiences and artists.”

Already at nearly 175,000 square feet, the Hop holds about 50 student performances and productions each academic year and welcomes 70,000 people annually to its live performances. The center also hosts jewelry, woodworking and ceramics studios. 

During the pandemic, the Hop has largely converted its in-person programming to an online format, hosting various artists in the fall as part of its “Hop@Home” program and offering students opportunities to engage with the studios via materials shipped to them.