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Bringing the arts together at UM Center: The performing arts 'campus within a campus' at College Park, set to open in 1999, will include a concert hall, a recital hall, a proscenium theater, a dance studio and an experimental theater.


WITH 11 institutions, the University of Maryland system has constructed literally hundreds of academic buildings and more than a few theaters.

But it has never built anything quite like the $107 million Maryland Center for the Performing Arts, for which administrators will break ground Saturday in College Park.

Set to open in 1999, this sprawling "campus within a campus" will be a magnet for performing artists of various disciplines, students and professionals. It also will be the third-largest facility at the University of Maryland College Park, behind the McKeldin Library and the Chemistry Building.

Plans include a 1,200-seat concert hall, a 300-seat recital hall, a 650-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat dance studio and a 200-seat experimental theater. Classrooms, laboratories, practice rooms, teaching studios, a performing arts library and a restaurant also are planned. The construction site is near Byrd Stadium, at Stadium Drive and Field House Drive.

"Performing arts have a strong tradition at this university," said UMCP President William E. Kirwan. "Bringing together our fine programs in one magnificent home has long been a goal."

With its many components, Kirwan said, the center will be "a training ground for performing artists, a venue for the public to enjoy the performing arts and a bridge between the university and the larger community."

As the work of one of the country's leading design firms, it will be a significant architectural addition to the campus. After an international competition, the state hired Moore Ruble Yudell of Santa Monica, Calif., with Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore as associate architect.

The center will be one of the first major Moore Ruble Yudell projects begun since the death in 1993 of founding partner Charles Moore. The firm has continued to win impressive commissions, including the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and the office campus for Dreamworks SKG, the entertainment company of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

The College Park plan calls for the performing halls to line both sides of a covered arcade as if they were separate buildings on a meandering village street. This "street" would link the lobbies for the performing spaces and provide access to teaching areas.

Exteriors have been designed to reflect the Georgian brick, copper roofs and low profiles of the university's traditional architecture. Inside, the performing spaces will include the latest in acoustical engineering, lighting, technological equipment and materials.

The Tawes Fine Arts building, which houses the music and theater departments, will be renovated for other educational uses when the new center opens.

BWI observation gallery honored by architects

The new Observation Gallery at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, by Greiner Inc. and Cambridge Seven Associates, has been named the Maryland Public Building of the Year in the annual design awards program sponsored by the Maryland Society of the American Institute of Architects.

An Honor Award went to the Feller residence in the Washington suburbs, by McInturff Architects. Merit awards went to the new commuter rail station in Dorsey, by Design Collective, three residences and a Bread & Circus grocery store. Citations went to the Inner Harbor Welcome Center, by Design Collective, the Lyric Opera House addition, by Richter Cornbrooks Gribble, and private residences by Charles Anthony Architects and Good Architecture.

In the awards program sponsored by the Baltimore chapter of the AIA, winners in the "built" category were a farmhouse addition in Pennsylvania, by Alexander/Muelken Studio (Charles Alexander and Fiona Muelken) of Ellicott City; a medical center chapel in Pennsylvania, by Alexander/Muelken Studio; the Naval Academy Visitors Center, by Cochran Stephenson & Donkervoet; and an addition to the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, by Ziger/Snead.

Winners in the unbuilt category were a 200-seat chapel for the Beth El congregation in Baltimore County, by Alexander Design Studio (Charles Alexander again) and a new home on Howard Street for the Eubie Blake National Jazz Museum and Cultural Center, by Cho, Wilks and Benn. The winning design by an intern or associate was a painter's studio by Gabriel Kroiz. A grand award winner will be announced at a ceremony from 6: 30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 18 at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church.

Pub Date: 9/26/96

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