Next project for Museum of Art: roof work costing $2.2 million

URBAN LANDSCAPE

October 06, 1994|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore Museum of Art won't open its New Wing for Modern Art until Oct. 16, but directors are already planning their next construction project.

Starting next spring, the museum will replace the roof of the original 1929 museum building by John Russell Pope and others and repair the roof of the adjacent 1937 Jacobs wing, at a cost of $2.2 million.

All works of art in those areas will be removed for safekeeping while the work is under way, and the galleries will be reorganized once repairs are complete.

According to museum director Arnold Lehman, the work is needed to make the city-owned museum more energy-efficient and help prevent leaks and reduce condensation that could harm the art. The work also involves installation of new skylights that are "triple-glazed" for better insulation, he said.

During a recent tour of the museum, Mr. Lehman pointed to areas where water damage is visible on the walls just below the ceiling, especially near where the Pope building meets the Jacobs wing.

In recent years, he said, the museum has patched the leaking roof, and no art has been damaged. But the roof has deteriorated to the point where the best solution is to replace it.

"We've patched as much as we can patch," he said.

"We've had terrible problems, and we've had to move art out of the way of the leaks."

The roof was last replaced more than a decade ago. After the first sign of leaking, the city made a claim against the manufacturer of the roofing material and received a settlement of $90,000.

Major funding for the work includes $735,000 from Baltimore, $700,000 in federal funds and $675,000 in state funds.

A side benefit, Mr. Lehman said, is that the work will allow curators to alter the content of the galleries in the Pope building to complement the rest of the museum.

With the new wing now established as the home for modern art, he said, the Pope building will be used to display more of the museum's collection of American decorative arts. Additional space also will be devoted to African-American art, he said.

The work is expected to take at least a year. Mr. Lehman said the contractor will complete the job in phases so the entire building will not be off-limits.

Preservation awards

What do the Berea Temple, Cusack's Deli, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Washington Hill Development Corp. and University of Baltimore President H. Mebane Turner have in common?

They are among the groups, individuals or places that will receive awards today from Baltimore's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary this year, the commission asked representatives from each of Baltimore's 18 historic districts to name people or projects who deserve recognition for "preserving the character of Baltimore's significant neighborhoods."

The winners will be honored at 5 p.m. today at a ceremony with Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in the City Hall Rotunda. A companion exhibit about CHAP's preservation activities will remain in the Rotunda through Oct. 21.

St. Mary's College

The newest student housing complex at St. Mary's College of Maryland received one of two "Best in Show" awards for architectural excellence in the 1994 Design Awards program sponsored by the Masonry Institute of America. The other winner was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the St. Mary's townhouses are laid out in a crescent and incorporate many elements of 17th- and early 18th-century Tidewater architecture, including brick construction, paired chimneys, peaked roofs and walk-through archways.

"It is immensely gratifying to see our campus buildings attract national recognition," said John Underwood, the college's executive vice president for administration.

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