A week designed to inform

ATCHITECTURE

October 08, 2007|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

A "hardhat tour" of an old brewery that's coming back to life, art exhibits, talks on preservation and waterfront design, and a costume ball in a former department store are among the highlights of Baltimore Architecture Week, which starts Thursday.

The Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects sponsors the event each year to call attention to the built environment and what architects are doing to improve it. This year's event spans 11 days, making it Architecture Week and a Half.

The former Stewart's department store at Howard and Lexington streets is one of the stars, because it's the site of the annual Excellence in Design awards ceremony and Beaux Arts Ball.

After a $42.7 million conversion planned by Design Collective, the building reopened this year as the new world headquarters of Catholic Relief Services. The awards ceremony will be held there at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19.

Also in the spotlight is the former American Brewery at 1701 N. Gay St. It's being converted to headquarters for a social services organization called Humanim, with Cho Benn Holback + Associates as the architect. The construction site will host a sold-out hardhat tour Thursday.

"We have 80 people signed up, and that's a lot to get in" the building at one time, said architect Anath Ranon. "There's a lot of interest." Another tour likely will be scheduled before next spring, she said.

A complete list of Architecture Week events and registration information is available at aia balt.com or by calling 410-625-2585.

Demolition request

A request to permit demolition of the former home of the H. Chambers & Co. interior design firm at 1010 N. Charles Street will be considered by Baltimore's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation at 4 p.m. tomorrow at 417 E. Fayette St., eighth floor.

The Chambers firm has moved, and property owner Howard Chambers has asked the city to permit him to tear down the vacant building, even though it is in a historic district, to make way for future development.

Distinguished by a series of arched openings, the brick building was designed by Charles Richter, architect of the Peabody Library and the Lyric Opera House's 1980s lobby and Mount Royal Avenue facade, and constructed in 1964.

The preservation panel has begun to identify buildings from the 1960s that it believes are worthy of protection, including the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre and the Bolton Square townhouses. Panel member Michael Murphy has indicated that he would like the panel to consider protecting the Chambers building as well.

Murphy will discuss the panel's recent efforts to nominate modern buildings for landmark designation and other preservation subjects during a noontime forum Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University's Downtown Center, Charles and Fayette streets. The talk is free and open to the public.

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

Architecture Week highlights

Thursday:

American Brewery hardhat tour, 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 15:

Architect Paul Marks on "Waterfront Development in Baltimore," 6 p.m., HarborView Marina and Yacht Club

Oct. 16:

Architecture critic Robert Campbell's "Thoughts on Architecture," 6:30 p.m., Walters Art Museum

Oct 17:

UMBC "Design in the Community" panel discussion, 6 p.m., Baltimore Museum of Art

Oct. 18:

Museum director Chase Rynd on "The Daily Impact of Architecture and Historic Preservation on Our Lives in Baltimore and Beyond," 7 p.m., Walters Art Museum

Oct 19:

Design awards ceremony and Beaux Arts Ball, 6:30 p.m., Stewart's Building

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