Murphy building represented new era

Plans: The site of the Morgan State arts building, whose demolition just began, will be home to a library.


April 01, 2002|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

Demolition crews have begun to tear down the old Carl Murphy Auditorium and Fine Arts Building on Hillen Road in Baltimore, home of the visual and performing arts at Morgan State University for more than 40 years.

The work is starting less than four months after Morgan dedicated a $40 million replacement, the Carl G. Murphy Fine Arts Center on Argonne Drive.

Once the Hillen Road site is cleared, Morgan plans to construct a $41.9 million library, being designed by Design Collective of Baltimore and Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass. The library is one of several buildings planned for the Morgan campus, including a student union and a communications center.

Former Gov. Millard Tawes dedicated the old Murphy Center on May 4, 1960, in honor of the chairman of Morgan's board of trustees.

Designed by Paul Gaudreau and built at a cost of $1 million to house Morgan's programs in art, music and drama, it symbolized a new era of state support for the historically black institution, then known as Morgan State College. Its 1,400-seat auditorium was a much-awaited feature, because large college assemblies had been held in the E. P. Hurt Gymnasium since 1952.

In recent years, faculty members and others at Morgan complained that the old Murphy Center had become functionally obsolete and sought funds for a replacement. The 140,000-square-foot arts center that opened Dec. 1 has a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 270-seat theater, a 165-seat recital hall and a new home for the James E. Lewis Museum of Art.

New openings

When they opened Oriole Park 10 years ago this week -- the date of the first Opening Day at Camden Yards was April 6, 1992 -- the Orioles were leaders in the national effort to build baseball-only ballparks in or near city centers across the United States.

Here is a list of the other ballparks that have followed:

1994: The Ballpark at Arlington in Arlington, Texas, and Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

1995: Coors Field in Denver.

1997: Turner Field in Atlanta.

1998: Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.

1999: Safeco Field in Seattle.

2000: Comerica Park in Detroit; Enron Field (now Astros Field) in Houston and Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.

2001: Miller Park in Milwaukee and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Still in the works are major league baseball parks planned for Cincinnati (2003), San Diego and Philadelphia(2004), and possible projects in New York City, St. Louis and Boston.


On April 12 at 11:30 a.m., the Maryland Historical Society will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for a 40,000-square-foot gallery building and new main entrance designed by Ziger/ Snead LLP.

Funded as part of a $29.5 million capital campaign, the three-story, zinc-paneled building will be the first new structure in 20 years on the society's Mount Vernon campus, bounded by Monument, Howard and Centre streets and Park Avenue.

Project forum

Robert Serpico, chief financial officer for New York's Battery Park City development authority, will discuss that 92-acre project during a free noontime forum on Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University's Downtown Center, Charles and Fayette streets.

The waterfront community in lower Manhattan, dubbed "The Next Great Place" by New York magazine and now being built out following the adoption of a master plan more than 10 years ago, served as a model for Baltimore's Inner Harbor East development.

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