Architectural panel for Baltimore opens door in quiet session

November 30, 1990|By Graeme Browning

In the first meeting of its 26-year history open to the news media, the Design Advisory Panel, an appointed group that reviews architectural designs for the city Department of Housing and Community Development, found one design for a nursing home in Southwest Baltimore lacking yesterday and approved revised plans for another in the northwest corner of the city.

It was a fairly low-key public debut for a group whose approval is acknowledged to be crucial to any developer seeking city authority to build in urban renewal areas.

The panel, which includes four architects, a landscape architect and an architectural historian, was founded in 1964 by the city housing department to ensure that urban renewal projects being developed on publicly owned land had a high quality of design, coordinator Robert M. Quilter said. Over the years, however, the panel's role was expanded to include planned unit developments -- such as nursing homes, shopping centers and residential projects -- on private as well as public land in those areas, he said.

The panel analyzes such elements as land use, landscaping, building materials and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood.

At yesterday's meeting, some panel members took issue with the site positioning of a proposed 156-bed addition to the Jenkins Memorial Nursing Home, at 1000 S. Caton Ave. in Southwest Baltimore.

"Did you try rotating your building? One wing of it will obscure one whole wing of the building that's already standing and ruin the view for those patients," Dr. Phoebe B. Stanton, a professor emeritus of art history at the Johns Hopkins University, asked architects for Cochran, Stephenson & Dunkervoet, Inc., who had designed the project.

Architect John W. Hill of the panel noted, however, that the existing building would still look out over the nursing home parking lot. "The view out of one building across an active place to another building can be a very good thing for patients," he said.

"We're going to struggle to resolve your comments," Glen Tipton of CSD promised the panel.

Another nursing home proposal by the same architectural firm, for a $7 million, 148-bed addition to Good Samaritan Nursing Home on Belvedere Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, fared better.

When the project was presented to the panel Oct. 25, members had suggested ways to improve the building's exterior design and its relationship to an inner courtyard.

Doors and sidelights were added to the proposed design, brick work above second-floor windows was increased, and a band of dark brick planned for the bottom half of the building was reworked, CSD architect Beverly Brandon said.

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