Architects to offer ideas for stadium They favor new look at 1990 plan calling for parklike setting

June 14, 1996|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,STAFF WRITER

Local architects are dusting off a 1990 plan that would create a large, parklike setting for the future Ravens football stadium. They plan to submit their suggestions to the team, whose current stadium plans have been criticized as run-of-the-mill.

Designs for the stadium, which is following a rapid construction timetable, have elicited complaints from city planners and the Baltimore Architectural Review Board, who say the stadium plan is bland and offers little compatibility with neighboring Oriole Park.

The 1990 plan -- formally called the Middle Branch East Urban Design Study -- was prepared by the American Institute of Architects six years ago in anticipation of a football stadium.

"We called it then the 'Stadium in the Park,' " said Klaus Philipsen, co-chairman of the Urban Design Committee of the AIA's Baltimore chapter. "This could provide the theme the stadium is looking for."

He said the group will not address designs for the stadium itself. "We felt at this time, we would rather discuss this aspect because it seems to have been overshadowed," Philipsen said. A streamlined and updated report will be forwarded to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Ravens and the city planning department, he said.

"I think we would welcome any suggestions that would help the area or make it more compatible," said Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne. "But at the same time, our concern is having the stadium done in a timely fashion."

The design debate has spurred key city planners to organize a meeting with the architects next week to consider possible improvements and whether they can be achieved with the current schedule.

Some have suggested delaying the completion of the stadium )) by a year, to 1999.

Ravens owner Art Modell said this week that he was pleased with the design and did not foresee much change in it.

The original Middle Branch report described a "coastal park" linking the Port Covington redevelopment area with the stadium site. The landscaping surrounding Middle Branch would continue north to Pratt Street.

The plan's objective was to create an environment smoothly connecting the stadiums to their urban neighborhoods. Its suggestions are nothing new to HOK, the Kansas City, Mo., firm that designed Oriole Park and is at work on the Ravens stadium. The firm received the report when it was completed, but AIA members said they believed it deserved a fresh look.

Peter Fillat, a member of the group who has been an outspoken critic of the stadium design, said the suggestions could make a notable difference even if the Ravens proceed without changing the current design.

"They can drop a big ugly thing in the middle of green or a big ugly thing in the middle of a parking lot," Fillat said. "Maybe after a few years the trees will cover it up."

Pub Date: 6/14/96

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