When the board of the Christopher Columbus Center announced in December that it was replacing architect Richard Rogers with the Zeidler Roberts Partnership of Toronto, it gave up on the dream of bringing that visionary British architect's work to Baltimore. But it did so in order to cling to another dream, that of a world-class research facility that would help to preserve this country's lead in the emerging field of marine biotechnology.
Given current economic realities, getting the center built had to take priority over dreams of a spectacular, pace-setting design that would inevitably carry with it a higher price tag and unpredictable cost-overruns that could alienate the public funding sources essential to the project.
Now, after two months of intense work, Ed Zeidler, who placed second to Mr. Rogers in the center's international competition, has produced plans that, if not visionary in the Rogers style, are certainly intriguing enough to have won the enthusiastic backing of the center's major patrons, including Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the state's congressional delegation.