Hopkins plans Gilman Hall update


Campus landmark to benefit from `World' campaign

May 13, 2002|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

Gilman Hall, the first academic building on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, is as much of a landmark there as the domed Billings administration building is on Hopkins' East Baltimore medical campus.

So it's fitting that Gilman will be renovated with help from the same fund drive that Hopkins is counting on to reconstruct its hospital and health system.

Gilman Hall will undergo a $45 million restoration and modernization as part of the $2 billion "Knowledge for the World" campaign that Hopkins launched May 4 to benefit all of its divisions.

The bulk of the money raised in the campaign - more than $1.5 billion - will support projects and programs on the East Baltimore campus. The Gilman Hall restoration is one of several projects, representing an estimated investment of $127 million, in the works for the Homewood campus.

It's also the first major overhaul planned for the five-story building, which opened in 1915 and now anchors Hopkins' upper quadrangle. The proposed work will return it to full use as an academic setting for the arts and sciences while upgrading plumbing, electricity, air conditioning and safety systems.

"Gilman is what people think of when they think of the Homewood campus," said Stephen Campbell, director of planning for the university. But "it hasn't had a major renovation since it was built, and it's time to bring it up to par with current instructional technology."

Named for former Hopkins president Daniel Coit Gilman and designated a city landmark in 1987, the building was designed by Parker and Thomas and is considered one of Baltimore's best examples of collegiate Georgian Revival architecture. Its design takes cues from Homewood House, the Georgian mansion visible from Charles Street near 34th Street. The five bells in its tower were made by the McShane Bell Foundry, one of the oldest foundries in the country.

Gilman Hall was built to contain classrooms and faculty offices for what is now called the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. But over the years, parts of it have been taken over by non-academic uses, such as a bank branch and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Other space has been converted to house stacks of non-circulating books and other archival materials from Hopkins' Eisenhower Library.

As part of the restoration, those uses will be moved to other locations, freeing up space for the arts and sciences.

The library stacks will be removed, and the space they occupy will be filled in. A vehicular tunnel will be converted for pedestrian use as part of the campus walkway system. Signature spaces such as the Hutzler Reading Room will be returned to their former glory. In all, the restored building will contain 115,000 square feet of space, up from 80,000 square feet today, and every part of it will be accessible to people in wheelchairs.

Colimore Gallow Architects of Baltimore completed a preliminary study last fall that indicated how to bring the building up to date. A final architect has not been selected. The university's timetable calls for construction to begin in the fall of 2005 and be complete by the fall of 2007, assuming sufficient funds are raised by then.

Other Homewood projects proposed for construction through 2008 include San Martin Center on San Martin Drive, a new home for the Carnegie Institution; renovation of the current Carnegie Institution building on University Parkway; a new chemistry building; additional buildings to frame a new quadrangle taking shape south of Garland Hall and another round of landscaping improvements starting this summer.

Hopkins' fund drive, scheduled to run through 2007, is expected to provide $51 million of the $127 million needed for construction at Homewood, including all of the funds required to renovate Gilman Hall.

In all, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences would receive $250 million from the $2 billion campaign, and the Whiting School of Engineering, $150 million. Another $100 million would be divided among the Peabody Institute, the Johns Hopkins University Press, the Sheridan Libraries and other departments.

Bookstore move

A community meeting on Hopkins' plan to move its bookstore from Gilman Hall will be held from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on May 22 at SS. Philip and James Church, 2801 N. Charles St.

Hopkins' plan calls for the bookstore to be one element of a larger commercial development at the northeast corner of Charles and 33rd streets. Hopkins intends to issue a request for proposals from developers interested in financing and building the project, and then make a selection based on the responses it receives.

Historical preservation

Baltimore's Commission for Historical and Architecture Preservation will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 417 E. Fayette St. to decide whether to permit demolition of the former Albert Gunther & Co. hardware store buildings at 22-36 W. Biddle St. and 1203 Maryland Ave., in the Mount Vernon historic district.

The University of Baltimore has been working with the Annapolis-based Washington Development Group, which wants to construct a mid-rise apartment building in place of the Gunther buildings, which a university affiliate now owns.

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