Germany’s Behnisch, Baltimore’s Ayers/Saint/Gross Submit ‘Forward-Thinking’ Initial Concept
The University of Baltimore has named Behnisch Architekten of Stuttgart, Germany, in partnership with Baltimore’s Ayers/Saint/Gross, Inc., as the winner of the international competition to design the new John and Frances Angelos Law Center at UB. The University will now enter into contract negotiations with the winner.
UB President Robert L. Bogomolny praised both the winning proposal and the quality of the competition.
“Each of the finalists presented concepts that reflect their world-class reputation, and the University of Baltimore and the city can be proud that this project attracted such high-caliber participants,” Bogomolny said.
Of the winning design, Bogomolny said, “Stefan Behnisch has articulated an initial concept for our new law center that is truly forward-thinking. Stefan’s ideas about sustainable design and his creativity in responding to the evolving needs of higher education place him in the forefront of 21st-century architecture.”
UB School of Law Dean Phillip J. Closius cited the firm’s focus on developing projects in close consultation with its clients.
“This is a transformative time for the UB School of Law,” Closius said, “and we were looking for a partner who understands the dynamic nature of our school and of legal education. The Behnisch team showed a real commitment to working with us to create a building that will meet our needs and be a unique addition to the cityâ€™s architectural landscape.”
Design competition advisor Roger K. Lewis, professor emeritus in the School of Architecture at the University of Maryland, College Park, and an award-winning designer and architecture critic, highlighted both the success and difficulty of the process.
“The competition was successful in producing five diverse and imaginative concepts,” Lewis said. “The quality of each presentation intensified the challenge of reaching consensus. Our deliberations were daunting.”
Behnisch is based in Stuttgart, Germany with offices in Munich; Venice, California; and Boston, Mass. The firm has worked in both the public and private sectors and has completed award-winning projects, a number of which have become recognized as both cultural and architectural landmarks. The practice is renowned for its design of the facilities for the Olympic Games in Munich; the Plenary Complex of the German Bundestag in Bonn; and a steady stream of progressive education buildings.
Behnisch is known as an international leader in environmentally-aware design, and in recent years the firm has transported cutting-edge sustainability technologies to its work in the United States. One of these projects, the Genzyme Center in Cambridge, Mass., has been described as “the USA’s first large environmentally aware office block” by The Architecture Review, which celebrated the structure as “a truly brave building” whose “central atrium is literally breathtaking.”
The decision followed an all-day review of the five firms that were selected as finalists for the design competition earlier this fall. The Abell Foundation, recognizing the unique opportunity for a world-class building for the University and midtown Baltimore, provided a grant to fund the design competition.
The four other firms that participated included Foster + Partners of London in association with Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc. of Baltimore; Dominique Perrault Architecture of Paris in association with Ziger/Snead Architects of Baltimore; Moshe Safdie and Associates, Inc. of Somerset, Mass., in association with Hord/Coplan/Macht of Baltimore; and SmithGroup Companies, Inc. of Washington, D.C.
Last June, the University announced a $5 million donation from UB School of Law alumnus Peter Angelos, LL.B. ‘61, a dollar-for-dollar matching pledge, to support construction of a new $107 million, 190,000- square-foot law project at Charles St. and Mt. Royal Ave. The projected opening is August 2012.
The existing law building, the John and Frances Angelos Law Center, was named after Angelos’s parents as part of an earlier gift in 1991. The new building will retain that name upon opening in 2012, and the current facility will be renovated at that time to accommodate UB’s growing academic programs.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.
Images: U. of Baltimore
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