Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The post-steel future of Sparrows Point

If one looks at the great post industrial reclamations from the Ruhr valley in Germany to the rebirth of Pittsburgh and the High Line in New York, the Docklands in London or Hafen City in Hamburg, one wonders if Maryland spent enough time thinking about the future of one of the greatest sites of all, Sparrows Point. 

Already the great monuments of steel making are largely leveled, re-purposing was not considered. History obliterated.
Demolition at Sparrows Point (Sun photo)

The site deserves as much consideration as, say, the old Stapleton Airport site in Denver, place of a whole new city based on competitions and lots of masterplanning. It doesn't seem to happen where Bethlehem steel once stood. Instead of a public debate the private owner commissioned a masterplan and parts of the site are already assigned to warehousing and the like. 

Not likely that something as great as Bethlehem Steel will rise there again. Instead pragmatic, impromptu and maybe useful stuff will spring up. As County Councilman Todd Crandell puts it, "I am glad there is an owner who is willing to stick with this for a a longer time, not just suck profits out and leave and has the capacity to deal with the big environmental issues.
Greatness which would be responsive to the stunning qualities of this site would take a very hard push. Now would be the time to ensure that such a masterplan as conceived, not only one that administers opportunities that happen to come along. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

SUN article
BBJ article

updated after an inquiry with Councilman Crandell.

the stunning location of Sparrows Point

Port Authority Sites in relation to Sparrows Point

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