Design approved for new library at downtown UM Architects praise 'standout building'

November 19, 1993|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Staff Writer

The design of a new library on the University of Maryland's downtown Baltimore campus was approved yesterday by Maryland's Architectural Review Board, with high praise.

Members of the review panel said the $24 million library will be one of the most prominent and memorable buildings on a campus where nearly $1 billion worth of construction is under way or due to begin over the next decade.

"The form of the building is delightful," said panelist Alan Meyers. "And the internal stairway is going to be wonderful."

"This is a standout building," said panelist Steve Parker. "It's playful and interesting. People are either going to like it or hate it, but it's going to get some response. . . . I like it a lot."

Approval of the "schematic" design for the six-story health sciences library and information services building means the project is on schedule for construction to begin by early 1995. It is expected to open by mid-1997.

The 181,000-square-foot library, to be built on the southwest corner of Greene and Lombard streets, will be one of the largest in the state.

Designed by Perry, Dean, Rogers & Partners of Boston and Design Collective of Baltimore, the building will be clad in limestone and brick, with a lead-coated copper roof.

Its most distinctive feature will be a large cylindrical "drum" near the corner of Greene and Lombard Streets. A tilted window at the top will give people inside a clear view of the best-known landmark on campus, Davidge Hall.

The drum will contain reading rooms, a lounge and other spaces where students will be able to gather. On the top floor will be a meeting room for the university's trustees and other dignitaries.

The building has been designed to consolidate the university's health sciences library and the campus computer center that will be relocated there.

It will replace a health sciences library that dates from 1960 and other facilities scattered among several older buildings.

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