In 1992 when the intermodal station first opened alongside the stadium, there had been plans floated by Baltimore concrete mogul Swirnow to build medical trade mart above the tracks, back then dubbed "MedMart". Parkway/Swirnow held exclusive development rights for the interior of the historic Camden Station, the south end of the B&O; warehouse, and the air rights above a 6.5-acre tract east of the B&O warehouse. That project died after the 1992 deadline passed. MTA subsequently deferred building a permanent station structure in favor of a low cost temporary space-frame and modular building that should be kept in service for 27 years.
|The new station building blends in and also holds its own. (Photo: Philipsen)|
It is worth noting, that constructing a new station for rail service right next to the historic train station for which no sustainable permanent use has to been found, is in itself not a very convincing idea. The need arose because of vehicle egress requirements for the new ballpark necessitated moving the MARC and Light rail boarding functions around 300' south away from the historic station. Now Conway Street could cross the tracks and serve as a vehicular entry and exit.
The duplication of a station building in a historic setting because of car egress is a typical win of cars over pedestrians and transit. Yet, nobody seems to have found a better solution in all those years, and so, in 2017 a memorandum of agreement between the Stadium Authority (MSA) and MDOT outlined a new building with MSA carrying the project management cost of the project.
|A new station in front of the historic station (Photo: Philipsen)|
The completed design mercifully deviates from the concept sketches that MTA had developed before selecting a design team. The final design is simple and creates a pleasant mix of contextual and contextual design respecting the historic environment.. The contemporary elements give the building the "confidence" presence in needs in the large scale environment of the warehouse, the beginning freeway and the trains. Additionally, the station building has to be presentable from all four sides and even from above when seen from the upper floors of the warehouse. This isn't an easy task, given that the structure has to conceal an electrical substation, bathrooms and MTA staff service areas. The finished station succeeds in meeting these demands.
|The hipped roof and clear-story is limited to the waiting area|
(Photo: Kevin Lynch)
With $7,2 million construction cost the building is quite expensive for not being much bigger than a large single family home. The much larger Greyhound bus terminal costed only $8 million, however, it also looks cheaper. Investing in making an attractive and durable transit station is money well spent. We certainly don't see enough of it.
One can only wish that MTA's sister agency would consider turning the end of I-395 along Ca,den Yards into an urban boulevard that is an appropriate gateway into the City and pays due respect to the famous ballpark.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
MTA Press Release
Related on this blog:
|The possibly least attractive side is facing the warehouse|
Pop Up Instead of Permanence (2012)
|Early rendering of the station (MSA/MTA)|
|The temporary structure that lasted 27 years (Photo Philipsen)|
|MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn and MDOT Secreatry Rahn cut the ribbon |
(Photo: Kevin Lynch)