Abundant harvest of big apple firms Restorations and renovations head a busy list of autumn projects

Fall Arts Preview

September 13, 1998|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

This fall may be remembered as the season that New York architects invaded Baltimore. Nearly a dozen prominent firms from the Empire State are working on key commissions for central Maryland.

Architects from many different areas, meanwhile, designed the buildings that are scheduled to open or reopen this fall. Many are restorations or renovations of existing buildings rather than new construction - a departure from previous years.

The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall will reopen for its fall subscription season Sept. 17 - two-thirds of the way through a three-year, $6 million renovation coordinated by RTKL Associates of Baltimore.

Sept. 17 is the dedication date for the Health Sciences and Human Services Library on the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, a $32 million building designed by Perry Dean Rogers and Partners of Boston and Design Collective of Baltimore.

Sept. 30 is the grand-opening date for the Barnes and Noble book and music store at the Pier 4 Power Plant, designed by the Richmond Group of Dallas.

Oct. 16 at 8 p.m., Peabody Institute will hold a dedicatory concert in its new Leith Symington Griswold Hall, the old North Hall, restored and transformed into a $1.7 million organ recital hall by Ziger/Snead Architects of Baltimore and Holtkamp Organ Co. of Cleveland.

Also starting in October, Boumi Temple will be torn down at Charles Street and Wyndhurst Avenue to make way for a $20 million recreation center for Loyola College in Maryland, designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass. Loyola is also constructing a new home for its Sellinger School of Business and Public Management on its Evergreen campus, a $12 million project designed in a "collegiate Gothic" spirit by Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson of Pennsylvania.

By Nov. 1, most of the retail tenants, including Bibelot, Donna's, the Atlantic and the Austin Grill, will have opened at the Can Company, the $15 million transformation of the old American Can Co. complex at 2400 Boston Street in Canton.

Nov. 14 is the date of the opening gala for a $30 million addition to the University of Maryland's School of Nursing, designed by RCG Inc. of Baltimore and Ballinger of Philadelphia.

Nov. 29 is the rededication date for Grace United Methodist Church at 5407 N. Charles St., after a $1.5 million renovation of its sanctuary and a merger with Wilson Memorial Methodist Church. Kann & Associates of Baltimore was the architect.

Another long-awaited event will be the Dec. 11 opening of Port Discovery, the $32 million children's museum under construction inside the city's former Fish Market on Market Place. Billed as the second largest children's museum in the nation - after one in Indianapolis - the Baltimore project will be the first to have exhibits designed and built by the Walt Disney Co. Amos, Bailey & Lee Ltd. of Baltimore is the architect for Port Discovery, and Cho, Wilks and Benn is the site architect.

Other fall openings include: a $1.7 million expansion of the Charles Theatre in the 1700 block of North Charles Street (with Alex Castro of Castro/Arts and Joe Adamczyk of SWB Architects as the designers); the $11 million Anne Arundel County district court building on Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis, by John A. Ammon and Associates of Baltimore and Spillis Candela/Warnecke of Washington; the new Sparks Elementary School, a $7 million building at Interstate 83 and Belfast Road in Baltimore County, by Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, and the new $16 million Towson Place retail center on Goucher Boulevard near Joppa Road, by Kann & Associates.

Nationally, one of the biggest architectural events has a Maryland connection. Grand Central Terminal, the New York train station known as the "crossroads of a million private lives," will be rededicated Oct. 1 after a $196 million revitalization designed to bring together more than 110 upscale stores and restaurants. The development team includes LaSalle Partners of Chicago and Williams Jackson Ewing of Baltimore. Beyer Blinder Belle was the lead architect.

The Maryland Stadium Authority's recent selection of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates as the lead firm to guide the proposed renovation of the Hippodrome theater at 12 N. Eutaw St. is the latest instance of a New York-based firm winning a high-profile commission in Maryland. Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer is working on the project with Murphy and Dittenhafer of Baltimore.

Other examples of the New York "invasion":

* The College of Notre Dame of Maryland will break ground Sept. 26 for an addition to its Knott Science Center, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects (in conjunction with George Vaeth Associates of Columbia.)

* Tod Williams Billie Tsien & Associates is designing a $12 million arts center for the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Campus.

* Gwathmey Siegel & Associates is the lead designer for the $8 million Lutheran Center office building taking shape in the 700 block of Light Street.

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