The new architect for the owner of the Clipper Road property in Baltimore’s Woodberry, where two historic homes were controversially demolished without notice in May, presented a revised design to city officials Thursday for a proposed apartment building.
The Baltimore firm JP2 Architects showed plans for a five-story, 51-unit apartment building that would rise 54 feet on the narrow lot between Clipper Road and the Light Rail tracks to the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel.
Members of the panel urged the architects to rethink their approach to one that better reflects the character, engagement level and history of the surrounding community.
Osbourne Anthony, an architect appointed to the panel by former Mayor Catherine Pugh in 2018, said the current design — made out of concrete and simple, neutral tones — does not offer enough “relief” to the area.
“It has a relatively anonymous identity and doesn’t link as broadly as it could,” Anthony said. “It’s not playful enough.”
The proposed apartment site has received intense scrutiny from neighbors, who waged a battle to save the two 19th-century stone homes in 2018. Their demolition a few months ago infuriated those who thought the issue had been settled. The previous architect and developer of the project quit after the demolition of the homes, which were part of the Woodberry Historic District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As a nod to the area’s history and the neighbors’ devotion to the demolished Clipper Road homes, JP2 Architects planned to use some of the old stone of the historic structures for the apartment’s exterior base. The previous developer, Chris Mfume of CLD Partners, planned to incorporate the facades of the two buildings into the apartment complex.
Cheryl O’Neill, a local architect who also sits on the panel, said even more stone could be incorporated into the design as a way to make the structure align more the original plans.
“A gesture like that would do a lot to engage” the community, she said.
John Hutch, a principal at JP2 Architects who presented the plans at Thursday’s meeting, said the fiber concrete panels and balconies provide an “industrial but residential feel.” He said the designers also hope to activate the south side of the building with a mural, perhaps by a local artist.