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Success creates dilemma for Maryland Institute

A STRUCTURE NOT BUILT TO LAST

January 06, 1991|By Edward Gunts

RTKL representatives either could not be reached or declined to comment on the building, pending the formal announcement of the award. Mr. Mehner also declined to discuss the award. But when asked about the fate of the building, he said he would rather see it taken down than left up and not properly maintained or altered to withstand the elements better.

"My only concern is that it was designed with temporary materials," he said. "The aesthetic appeal is there for a year, but not much longer. I don't want to see it stay the way it is. It was designed as a temporary building, and if it's going to stay up longer, someone ought to take a look at it. It needs to be redesigned for permanent use."

Mr. Lazarus said he may have to ask CHAP for permission to leave the building in place slightly past Aug. 31 because the sculptors may not be finished with their work by then. But if the building must be taken down altogether, he said, that presents a question of where it might be moved and how it might be reused.

The design was successful because it expresses the building's temporary nature and the fact that it houses Japanese sculptors, Mr. Lazarus said. "If you changed its function and purpose, would it be a great design? Would it be as exciting on a different site? I don't know that we've addressed those questions."

At the same time, "All of us respect and appreciate the quality of the building," he said. "We want to make sure we don't give it up without a lot of thought."

Past winners of AIA citations

The Japanese sculpture studio is the 12th Maryland building to be cited for a national AIA award since the program began in 1949. It is the first building in Baltimore to be so honored since 1978 and the first for RTKL Associates since 1973, when the firm was cited for the design of Fountain Square in Cincinnati.

The previous 11 Maryland winners include:

*Alexander S. Cochran residence in Baltimore by Alexander S. Cochran -- Award of Merit, 1951.

*Girl Scout Lodge, Camp Woodlands, Annapolis, by Rogers, Taliaferro and Lamb (predecessor of RTKL) -- Award of Merit, 1954

*Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore by Pietro Belluschi and Rogers, Taliaferro and Lamb -- Award of Merit, 1960.

*Westinghouse Electric Corp. Molecular Electronics Division building in Anne Arundel County by Vincent G. Kling -- Award of Merit, 1964.

*River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda by Keyes, Lethbridge and Condon -- Award of Merit, 1966.

*John Deere Co. building in Timonium, Rogers Taliaferro Kostritsky Lamb -- Honor Award, 1968.

*Bolton Square town houses in Baltimore, Hugh Newell Jacobsen -- Honor Award, 1969.

*Phillips/Brewer Residence in Chevy Chase, Hartman-Cox Architects, Honor Award, 1970.

*Center Stage in Baltimore by James R. Grieves Associates -- Honor Award, 1978; Robert Elliott Residence in Chevy Chase by Hugh Newell Jacobsen -- Honor Award, 1978.

*Tidewater House on the Eastern Shore by Hugh Newell Jacobsen -- Honor Award, 1985.

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