Maryland Center For The Arts
Bel Air, MD
The Maryland Center for the Arts provides a broad range of creative experiences in education, presentations and exhibits in the arts. The site will be designed to be as much an expression of the arts as the programs at the Center.
The Maryland Center for the Arts provides a broad range of creative experiences in education, presentations and exhibits in the arts. The site for their new facility is 42 acres.
The first phase of the project includes a community arts center providing versatile space for performances, presentations, art exhibits, concerts, plays, dance, banquets and more. The second phase of the project includes an amphitheater with buildings and outdoor areas for classrooms and studio space. The site will be designed to be as much an expression of the arts as the programs at the Center. Two schemes were developed.
Working from the angular nature of the architecture of the surrounding buildings, Scheme A extracts fragments of these angles to create a series of lines between the central building and the parking lot. These lines create a number of thresholds meant to evoke the various, layered curtains of a stage performance, with the majority of the surfaces being walkable and the remaining area being dedicated to planting. The path to the amphitheater seating adopts the linear character of the lines. Special member seating is located along this path.
Option B creates a curvilinear, circulation experience that one passes within. The field of ellipses – an archipelago of abstracted, glacial drumlins – affords visitors a chance to select a unique, intimate means of ingress to the functions deeper in-site. The drumlins are mounded with minor slopes and planted in either individual or systematic ways. Benches line strategic lengths of the ellipses. The curvilinear nature of the paths extends to the amphitheater site design, with flowering trees and shrubs flanking the entry sequence. The special member area extends along the ridgeline of one berm, perched above the other visitors.
Design progress consolidated the overall site, and with it the two schemes. The working design uses the linear elements to slice through the drumlins, rotating to provide thresholds for each building as well as the dropoff area. The drumlins provide perches for sculpture and seating, areas for performances on the plaza, oportunities for planting, and a visual que at the vehicular entry. Shade and flowering trees reinforce the lines in the plaza and provide relief from the sun in the south facing plaza.
This work is being performed by Core Studio Design in conjunction with Quinn Evans Architects.