Peabody readies opening act
Robert Sirota, director of the Peabody Institute, says he is well
aware of his institution's shortcomings when it comes to public
access, and he has an anecdote to illustrate his concern. Sirota
takes a moment to explain the architecture at the Baltimore
Police Department's central booking facility on Guilford Avenue.
He remarks on its built-in wheelchair access, the abundant
lighting and its large glass walls. Then comes Sirota's
"It is actually more attractive to get arrested
in this city than to go to a concert at Peabody."
Although Sirota is joking, he says he is not
taking the issue of public access lightly. The evidence of his
concern is wrapped up in the school's master planning document,
drawn up last year, that details an estimated $9 million in
capital renovations and improvements focused on opening up the
campus to the surrounding community.
"Hurricane house" set for
When Hurricane Bonnie bore down on North Carolina's Outer Banks
region last summer, one gray two-story building was wired and
ready to capture critical information about what happens when
powerful winds pound a typical coastal home. Although Bonnie was
downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached the test
house, Johns Hopkins engineers collected important data that
could lead to future houses that are better designed to resist
With a new hurricane season under way, the
Hopkins team, led by Nicholas P. Jones, a professor of civil
engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering, and doctoral
student Michelle Porterfield, has made certain the structure is
ready again to gauge the impact of winds measuring up to and
including hurricane force. Although its exterior resembles that
of a two-story tract house, this building, owned by the town of
Southern Shores, actually operates as a community center.
High-tech equipment inside and outside can record weather
conditions, wind pressure on the building and movement of the
structure itself. Data from these sensors is collected inside the
house by a computer that can relay the information by modem to
the Homewood campus. As a result, the engineers do not need to be
on the premises when a dangerous storm strikes. "This structure
was built to demonstrate a wind-resistant construction design,"
says Jones. "I think the odds are better than even that it would
survive a fairly severe blow, such as a hurricane, but not
necessarily without damage."
The Johns Hopkins University
3003 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218