Design team selected for center addition


The Baltimore Convention Center Authority yesterday named an architectural and engineering team headed by Cochran, Stephenson and Donkervoet Inc. of Baltimore and Loschsky, Marquardt and Nesholm of Seattle as its first choice to design the $125 million to $150 million expansion of the Convention Center -- a contract worth $5 million to $6 million in billings to the selected team.

Authority Chairman Robert Hillman said that the five-member board accepted the "near unanimous" recommendation of an advisory committee that interviewed four teams last week.

The board will now negotiate a contract with the first-choice team, which includes many of the architects and engineers involved in the original Convention Center project.

The decision broke a string of recent decisions in which plum commissions for downtown projects -- such as the University of Maryland clinical tower, the Camden Yards stadium and two proposed federal office buildings -- have gone to design teams headed by out-of-town architects.

"We're elated," CS&D; President Richard Donkervoet said.

"It's extremely satisfying to be able to complete what we started. We've invested 15 years in this building, and we take a good deal of pride in it."

Mr. Donkervoet said that the addition, planned for the site now occupied by Festival Hall, will most likely continue the look and feel of the 12-year-old facility.

"It's not going to be a toothpaste extrusion," he said. "But when the whole thing is finished, it's going to look and feel like one building."

A team that included RTKL Associates of Baltimore and Zimmer Gunsel Frasca Partnership of Portland, Ore., was ranked a close second, while teams headed by Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum and Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback and Associates were ranked third and fourth.

If the authority can't reach agreement with the CS&D; team, it will negotiate with the second-place team.

Authority members have said that they would like to have a preliminary design and cost estimates for the 569,420-square-foot expansion by the end of December so that they can present a financing plan tostate legislators early next year.

Mr. Hillman said that one of the architects' jobs will be to explore the idea of building a 1,000-room hotel above the expansion, an idea proposed by a developer, Richard Swirnow.

Mr. Donkervoet said his initial reaction is that such a project is "technically possible without a great deal of compromise" in the design, but, "operationally, it's a nightmare."

A hotel alone may require 40 to 60 deliveries a day, ranging from beer to laundry service, he said. Add that activity to the needs of a convention center and the servicing needs "fly in the face of each other," he said.

Another member of the CS&D; team is Leon Bridges, a minority architect who will be involved in the urban design and architectural design.

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