Architecture has always been a mixture of art and science. And that's just what this fall will bring in the way of building openings and other architectural events in central Maryland.
On the arts side, the most noteworthy opening is that of the American Visionary Art Museum, designed by Rebecca Swanston, Alex Castro and Davis, Bowen & Friedel for a harbor site at Covington Street and Key Highway. Its swirling exterior hints at the whirlwind of artistic ideas that will confront visitors when the building opens Nov. 24.
Another artistic highlight will be a citywide tour of religious art and architecture, organized by the Archdiocese of Baltimore to coincide with the visit of Pope John Paul II. Thirty-two of the city's most significant churches and synagogues will open their doors Oct. 7-8 to showcase the city's rich religious heritage. Details are available from the Papal Visit Center at (410) 547-1995.
On the science side, openings include two large laboratory buildings designed to make the University of Maryland's downtown Baltimore campus a center for the life sciences.
The $45 million six-story Health Sciences Facility, designed by Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore and CUH2A Inc. of Princeton, N.J., opens Oct. 11.
It will be followed by the opening in November of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Medical Biotechnology Center, a $40 million conversion to high-tech research labs of the old Hutzler Bros. warehouse on Lombard Street, by Davis, Brody & Associates of New York and BWJ Inc. of Baltimore.
The rush of seasonal openings began Sept. 1, with the debut of the 550-car Penn Station Garage and Plaza, by Whitman Requardt and Associates. Thursday, Anne Arundel Medical Center opened the Rebecca M. Clatanoff Pavilion, a $15 million addition by RTKL Associates that provides resources for women's health care. Columbus Center's Science and Technology Education Center opened Friday.
Sept. 15 is the dedication date for the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration's three-building, $120 million Woodlawn campus, designed by RTKL. The Baltimore Hebrew Congregation will unveil a new library and education center Sept. 17 designed by Baltimore native Henry Myerberg.
One opening Marylanders may prefer to miss is that of Baltimore's $54 million, 811-bed Central Booking Facility and Detention Center, which is scheduled to go into full service next month. The architects were Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum of Washington and Smeallie Orrick and Janka of Baltimore.
Western Maryland College will rededicate 66-year-old Memorial Hall Oct. 13, the campus' central academic building, after a restoration guided by Centerbrook Architects of Essex, Conn. Oct. 16 is the opening date for Weinberg Gardens, a six-story retirement community by Kann & Associates, at Old Court Road and Bedford Avenue.
After three years of construction, the Admiral Fell Inn will finish work in late October on its $7 million, 45-room addition, a test of architect Lee Rayburn's sensitivity to the Fells Point historic district.
The Naval Academy will complete work on a $7 million addition to Ricketts Hall, containing a new athletic training facility, auditorium and "Hall of the Athletes," designed by Cochran, Stephenson and Donkervoet.
Fall groundbreakings include a $30 million Health Sciences Library for the University of Maryland at Baltimore by Perry Dean Rogers & Partners and Design Collective; a student recreation center for the University of Maryland College Park by Sasaki Associates and Ayers Saint Gross; and a $2.6 million addition to the Lyric Opera House by RCG Inc., containing new dressing rooms and other backstage facilities. Also, conversion of the old Greyhound service terminal to an annex of the Maryland Historical Society, by Grieves Worrall Wright and O'Hatnick.
Oct. 20: Annual awards banquet of Baltimore's chapter of the American Institute of Architects, at the Columbus Center.
Nov. 10-11: the Maryland Institute College of Art's symposium on Baltimore's future titled "Rethinking the City." Invited presenters: Henry Cisneros, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development; "green" architect William McDonough; and Pittsburgh preservationist Arthur Zeigler.
One of the most unusual constructions to debut this fall will be one of the most short-lived. Architects with Cochran, Stephenson & Donkervoet have designed a "Papal Altar" that will be erected at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the Mass of Pope John Paul II. The design will be unveiled later this month. No matter how good it is, though, the altar will have to be taken apart immediately after the service.