The Johns Hopkins Gazette: March 8, 1999
Mar. 8, 1999
VOL. 28, NO. 25


Downtown Center Design is Approved

By Neil A. Grauer
School of Continuing Studies
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The buildings and grounds committee of the board of trustees has approved the final design for the new Downtown Center of the School of Continuing Studies.

The 35,000-square-foot signature building, bedecked with a landmark outside electronic news ticker, is scheduled to open in January 2001. It will be located in the former Hamburger's building on the southwest corner of Charles and Fayette streets, several blocks south of the present, much smaller Downtown Center, which has been located at Charles and Saratoga streets since 1987.

The recently approved plans for the 35,000-square-foot Downtown Center show an abundant use of clear and frosted glass. At night, the Ziger/Snead building will glow like a lantern.

The university has signed a 10-year lease on the three-story property that will become home to the new Downtown Center. It is owned by Baltimore Orioles majority owner and university trustee Peter Angelos. Angelos has pledged $2.8 million to the School of Continuing Studies for programs in business, management and information technology to be housed in the new center, which also will serve as administrative headquarters for SCS's Graduate Division of Business and Management.

The plans for the estimated $6.1 million in renovations that will be made on the building were designed by the award-winning Baltimore architectural firm of Ziger/Snead.

"It's a prime and critical location downtown, and we feel that the design of the building must be dynamic and open and exciting," said architect Steve Ziger.

"Another issue with this site is that it is surrounded by taller buildings, so we designed [the center] to have a strong, sculptural presence at that corner. We're using predominantly glass--a frosted, translucent glass on the upper floors, and clear glass and stone on the lower level. We've created a three-story, very dynamic lobby space facing Charles Street. And at night, the entire building will glow like a lantern. The news ticker will be constantly changing and communicate that this building is a source of information not just about Hopkins but the broader community as well.

"Our approach was to try to simplify the building," Ziger continued. "We designed it to complement the Mies [van der Rohe] building [at One Charles Center] and to relate to it. The city will be improving the intersection so it will be much more pedestrian-friendly, and this building is designed to relate directly to those streetscape improvements," Ziger said.

"I think the design is stunning," said Stanley C. Gabor, dean of the School of Continuing Studies. "It will act as a bright beacon for Hopkins in the center of the city, reflecting its renewal and resurgence. And as a native New Yorker, I really like the electronic news ticker. It reminds me of Times Square."

Angelos has said that it was memories of a similar news ticker that once girded the old Baltimore Sun building, located where the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre now stands, which inspired him to suggest that one be placed on the new Hopkins Downtown Center.