Another Tod & Billie Building Coming Down

John Hill
12. March 2019
Aerial of the Mattin Center via Google Maps

Five years after MoMA tore down Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects' Folk Art Museum in New York City, John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has announced plans to raze the firm's 18-year-old Mattin Center.

University President Ronald J. Daniels made the announcement last week that a student center will be built on the site of the Mattin Center, located on Charles Street just above Art Museum Drive

Dedicated in April 2001, the Mattin Center, named for its benefactor, Christina Mattin, is composed of three buildings housing the Swirnow Theater, the Digital Media Center, art studios, a dance studio, darkrooms, music practice rooms, and a cafe, among other uses.

The three buildings are oriented about a central courtyard. Criticism of this fortress-like introversion has been levied at the Mattin Center over the years, making the university eye the site for a student center since at least 2014. According to the University's announcement, "The location was selected based on the flow of students on and off campus from the Charles Street corridor."

TWBTA describes the Mattin Center's "sheltered courtyard" on their website as "the heart of the project" and "a place of passage, gathering, study, and meeting." With accessible roof terraces and a network of ramps, the buildings connect the different grades of the sloped site and made the Mattin Center one of the more accessible places on campus for students with disabilities.

A couple items are not mentioned in the University's announcement: what will happen to the arts facilities in Mattin Center, and who will design the student center that will replace it? Regardless, initial estimates "suggest that the project could be completed by the end of summer 2024," per the announcement.

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