A Healing Place
who revere the late Lloyd Acton, the Shepley Bulfinch principal who, in the late 1980s, conceived of and then resolutely defended the idea of creating an academic medical center around a three-story mall designed to function as a kind of public main street. [For insight into challenges the architects faced, see the video.]
To Acton, the mall and the humanizing effects he knew it would have on a medical facility were so important that he strategically sacrificed making DHMC look on the outside like the kind of iconic structure that wins Pritzkers. He understood that the original project's budget—to say nothing of the prudence of the leaders of his client institution—could suffer only a finite amount of inventiveness and risk. It was hard enough to persuade them, for economic reasons, to forego the traditional Dartmouth brick for what are now the familiar DHMC metal panels, painted white with green accents.
Working nearly two decades later, Acton's successors at Shepley Bulfinch, led by principal Carolyn Judge, confronted a tough choice. The space requirements driving Project for Progress—including a desperate need for more exam rooms—called for such a significant expansion that it was not possible to simply add more square footage to the space organized around the original mall. So they designed another mall, parallel to the first one. [For more about the old and new malls, see the video.]
The new East Mall—which extends from the newly expanded Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the new Doctors' Office Building to a larger, reengineered Emergency Department and Same-Day Surgery Suite—is a highly effective artistic homage to its predecessor. To a lover of buildings, the East Mall is interesting for the same reason that jazz interests aficionados of music. The improvisation on the original theme, and the relationship of that improvisation to
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It was the late Lloyd Acton who 20 years ago conceived of and then resolutely defended the idea of creating an academic medical center around a three-story mall designed to function as a kind of public main street.