Robert C. Goldman, who brought sleek design to his architectural practice while enjoying the good life, dies

Robert C. Goldman, who as the founder of the Chesapeake Design Group Inc. brought sleek design and cutting-edge technology to his practice, and enjoyed being a bon vivant, died of long COVID on Dec. 20 at his Homeland residence. He was 70.

Warren Nagey, an architect and vice president of Chesapeake Design Group Inc., worked with Mr. Goldman since the late 1980s.


“He liked challenges and he loved finding alternative ways of solving them, whether it was solving a design problem or saving money,” Mr. Nagey said.

“If there was an issue, he could think quickly on his feet and Robert was the guy you wanted to work with,” Mr. Nagey said. “And he wasn’t an ivory tower architect. He liked getting down in the trenches with the contractors.

Robert C. Goldman was a member of the first graduating class of the University of Maryland, College Park architectural program in 1972,

“He was a person of many dimensions. He was a great guy to have a drink with back in the days of the three-martini lunch.”

Gloria E. Hoffman, who recently retired from Morgan State University, where she and her husband, Michael Koban, were professors, were close friends of Mr. Goldman’s.

“He was multifaceted and could talk about anything, which showed a great breadth of his thinking, and he brought this to his practice,“ Ms. Hoffman said. “He had a great sense of humor and really was a jack-of-all-trades.”

Robert Charles Goldman, son of Yale Goldman, an automotive engineer, and his wife, Shirley Sharp Goldman, a buyer at the since-closed Hutzler’s department store, was born in Baltimore and raised on Wallis Avenue in Pikesville.

After graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Goldman was a member of the first graduating class of the University of Maryland, College Park architectural program in 1972, and this spring he and his classmates were honored as “Golden Terps,” celebrating their 50th reunion.

After graduating from Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Mr. Goldman and two college classmates, Steve Parker and Mark McInturff, established PGM, family members said.

In 1982, Mr. Goldman went on to found the Chesapeake Design Group with two College Park architecture professors, John Hill and Roger Lewis.

CDG was initially located at 1007 N. Charles St. before eventually moving to its current home at 419 N. Charles St., in Mount Vernon.


“Early in his career he designed houses for friends before he met people in the corporate world,” said Stacey A. Lawrence, chief financial officer of CDG.

“I first met Robert when I was 17, and working for a Realtor, and we shared an office. Every day I walked through his office to mine,” Ms. Lawrence said. “I later went to work for him 30 years ago as a bookkeeper. He was the kind of person who shared everything he knew and his knowledge.”

Ms. Lawrence said the firm specializes in “retail and restaurant projects.”

The firm’s clients included McDonald’s, Burger King, Red Lobster, Wendy’s, KFC, 7-Eleven, Crown Central Petroleum, Rite Aid, Hair Cuttery, Ethan Allen, The Avenue at White Marsh in conjunction with the architectural firm of RTKL, Advance Business Systems, Payless Shoes and Trans World Entertainment.

“A local project Robert was especially proud of was working with the renowned artist and sculptor, Scott Burton, in designing Pearlstone Park across from the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall,” she wrote. “Additionally, he designed a pretty and brand-new Pearlstone resident beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.”

For 30 years, Mr. Goldman lived on St. Dunstans Road in Homeland and regularly gathered with a group of friends at Grand Cru, the Belvedere Square wine bar, where he enjoyed sipping martinis and sidecars while dining on smoked salmon from the now-shuttered Greg’s Bagels, another Belvedere Square merchant.


A gourmet cook who loved entertaining family and friends, he could often be seen shopping for ingredients at the Saturday Waverly Farmers Market on 32nd Street.

In addition to his regular practice, Mr. Goldman also did design work for residential rebuilds and new homes for many friends and clients throughout Baltimore.

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When Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Koban decided to wed in 2016, they turned to Mr. Goldman, who they met at Grand Cru and with whom they later developed a deep friendship, to redesign Mr. Koban’s 1960s-era Mount Washington home.

“My home was a small brick colonial type design, old and out of date, but had potential because I have one acre of land,” Mr. Koban wrote in an email. “The plans he presented were fabulous and with a few tweaks as required by the historical commission, we began construction with Marty Bement’s firm.”

“It was an open design concept with big windows that looked out across the grass,” Ms. Hoffman said in an interview. “That was Robert’s wedding present to us and it illustrated our bond of friendship that began at Grand Cru.”

According to a biographical profile submitted by his family: “In his work and personal life, Robert was a brave man. From helicopter skiing in Banff, to working on skyscrapers — without a safety harness or current protections — to baking recipes from the Grand Diplome cookbooks, to traveling in Europe to being early to adopt technology — whether the earliest personal computers in the early 1980s or other new technologies, including being a proud Tesla owner — he remained a fearless and curious student of the world throughout his life.”


He was an avid Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens fan, and held Orioles and Ravens season tickets.

Funeral services were held Dec. 23 at Sol Levinson & Bros. in Pikesville.

He is survived by two daughters, Arielle Shapiro Goldman of Richmond, Virginia, and Erica Shapiro Goldman of Washington, and two grandchildren. His marriage to Dr. Nancy Shapiro ended in divorce.