For many in the city, that’s not a big step to take. Since its construction in 1967, the harsh, brutalist modernism of the building has inspired cracks and smirks from architectural critics, real and wannabe, across the city. Planted in the middle of the inner city, its unvarnished concrete cubism has cheerfully defied what most urban downtowns demand of modern art: feel good atmospherics, and sleek, shiny magnets for commerce.
It’s been compared to a concrete bunker, and, most famously, to a poached egg on toast, by Hecht Company executive J. Jefferson Miller in 1967.
Actors themselves, at least those old enough to remember the building in its heyday, when it was the stopping place for traveling Broadway shows, don’t seem to be sad to see it go. A cramped backstage was among complaints I have heard registered over the years. Bruce Nelson, a Baltimore actor, told me that when he heard of the latest developments, he had to confess to mixed feelings. For awhile, the Morris Mechanic was Baltimore’s only link to the professional theater world.