I'm Sprung: Examining Residential Cluster Planning

By Will Peisch, The Dartmouth Staff | 11/9/15 10:26am

Last Monday, the College unveiled its plan for the six house communities that students will be sorted into beginning next fall. I, however, would like to focus on one major part of this plan that went largely unnoticed — the two temporary buildings that will be built as “living room spaces” for the communities as other residence halls’ social spaces are renovated.
The first temporary building will be constructed between Gile and Hitchcock Halls and is referred to by the College as a “modular building,” which according to Wikipedia looks something like this:

This doesn’t actually look that bad.

It was the second temporary building that caught my attention however, mostly due to the artist’s sketch of what the second temporary space could look like.

My first thought looking at this was: this kind of looks like an indoor tennis court. Note the similarity in ceilings.

Then I read the press release more carefully and that’s exactly what it is, according to the official press release.

"The second temporary building—called a Sprung Structure—will be constructed on the two tennis courts closest to Memorial Field on Crosby Street, adjacent to West Gymnasium. The three tennis courts closest to East Wheelock Street will remain."

The presser even goes into a tangent on how all the kool kids are building giant tents.

"Sprung structures are made from fabric membranes stretched over a metal frame. Harvard Business School has been using such a structure as an executive education dining center for several years during construction of a new building. The Dartmouth Sprung structure will provide new living room space for the South and North Park house communities."

Subtext: You’re damn right we’re building a large tent over a tennis court and calling it a “living room space.”

After this experience I tried to decipher what else could this temporary structure have in store using this sketch and came across these features.

It's a dating spot!

Diana: “Wow Frankie, of all the romantic places on campus you could have brought us for our one-month anniversary, I’m so glad you brought me to the not-indoor tennis court. There’s just one problem, though.”

Frankie: “Is it the fact we’re sitting on incredibly hard, almost tennis court-like ground?”

Diana: “No, this ugly carpet is cushion enough for me. It’s actually that girl on her laptop a foot away from us.”

It’s a place for ghosts!

Since no professor would be caught dead hanging out in a social space like this former tennis court, the sketch artist made a point to include one that was already dead. You can tell by his blazer that he’s a prof, by his transparent knees that he’s a ghost and by his poor posture that he’s dead inside, too.

It’s a place for the arts!


-“Please stop singing.”


-“Why are you staring at me like that?”


-“Did you bring me and your guitar here just for this?”


-“The way you are sitting is hurting my brain right now”

It’s a place for the lonely!

Do you want the booth experience but not want the table or friends to go with it? These sketches suggest the new building with have one person booths for students to sit in silence and watch other students have slightly more fun than they are having.

It’s a place for bad news!

-“It’s your doctor, your test results just came in. We now know why your head looks like the artifact from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.”

-“Never heard of it, but continue.”

-“Are you sitting down?”

-“Technically, yes.”

-“We need to operate.”

-“Oh dear.”

-”Are you going to be OK?”

-“No, it but it seems like it’s a given that people are going come to the not-indoor tennis court to openly cry so I think I’ll be fine for now.”

Will Peisch, The Dartmouth Staff