New sculpture adorns business park

New York artist's work, courtyard area praised by complex's developer

March 22, 2001|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

An artsy centerpiece for a business park in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington corridor was officially unveiled yesterday - hours after wind gusts whipped the covering off the 30-foot-high sculpture.

Named "Trinity," the three-piece stainless-steel work by New York artist Hans Van de Bovenkamp stands in a courtyard of three buildings in the National Business Park, off Route 32 at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

"We view it as sort of raising the bar over other office buildings," said Randall M. Griffin, president and chief operating officer of Corporate Office Properties Trust, developer of the complex. "[The sculpture area] also becomes like Northern Virginia - the lush green area, that kind of quality. That's what we're really giving to the community and the business park."

He said the sculpture cost "several hundred thousands of dollars," but would not be specific.

More than 60 people, including county officials and business park tenants, turned out for the ceremonies. They were to have seen the unveiling - before the wind blew the covering away -from beneath an overhang of one of the buildings in the complex: Instead, a tarp used to block the view from inside the building was pulled away, and lights within the sculpture were turned on to illuminate it.

County Executive Janet S. Owens joined Griffin in cutting a ceremonial ribbon that had been stretched across the inside of the window.

Corporate Office Properties Trust commissioned the artwork to create a focal point between the entrances of three buildings in the complex, numbers 201, 211 and 221 - but tucked away in a public space for the park's tenants and the community to enjoy, Griffin said.

"It's designed to be friendly," Griffin said. "You can walk between it, sit on it. We envisioned that people from the building will be sitting out there having lunch."

Van de Bovenkamp designed the sculpture over four months to interact with the outdoors, the buildings' architecture and nature. The polished sculpture has a mirrored effect, enabling it to glisten in the sun as it radiates skyward.

It's also designed to withstand 100-mph wind gusts while covered in 6 inches of ice, Griffin said.

"This sculpture is somewhat like a bud of a flower that's opening up toward the sky," artist Van de Bovenkamp said, "so there's a feeling of energy."

The artist said the name of the three-piece creation, "Trinity," is symbolic of past, present and future.

The Columbia-based real estate investment trust is the largest owner of office space in Anne Arundel - including about a quarter of the space in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, Griffin said. Its tenants in the 275-acre National Business Park include defense contractor Booz Allen & Hamilton Inc., Credit Management Solutions Inc. and Ameritrade.

The growing park has 11 buildings, with the three newest ones around the sculpture. Building 221 opened at the end of last year, with General Dynamics Electronic Systems occupying nearly 9,200 square feet, and First Service Networks taking up 26,000 square feet.

No. 201 is scheduled to open in late summer; Litton-TASC has leased more than half of its 120,000 square feet. Building 211 is scheduled for spring 2002, and Computer Science Corp. has leased all of its 150,000 square feet.

The trio's rent is $25 to $27 a square foot. That's a good buy in today's market, even if it is in the high end for office space in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, said Neil Shpritz, executive director of BWI Business Partnership Inc.

"It's another in a series of really first-rate office parks," Shpritz said.

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