A rendering of the Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine.

The University of Maryland Medical Center has taken a big step closer to getting a new “front door” for its flagship hospital on S. Greene Street.

Architects and planners today unveiled the design they plan to develop to house the $185 million Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine, planned for the southwest corner of W. Baltimore and S. Greene streets.

In December, planners told the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel they had three designs for the 170,000-square-foot addition they want to attach to the 13-story, 1930s-era hospital tower at 22 S. Greene St., and they were still deciding which one to pursue.

Because of its size and prominent location, the addition has been described as a new “front door” for the multi-building medical complex on downtown’s west side.

Today, planners told the design review panel that they now have a preferred design and have presented it to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s board.

It calls for a 10-level building that has an exterior made of glass and metal, with a glass “beacon” at the top on the W. Baltimore Street side and the main pedestrian entrance on the south side of the building, in line with Redwood Street.

“It becomes a very prominent piece of architecture at the corner” of W. Baltimore and S. Greene streets, said architect Kent Bonner of HDR, the lead design firm along with KPN Architects and AGI Engineering.

“We had two schemes that we felt could be very successful” and ultimately selected one, explained Linda Whitmore, director of project development for UMMC.

The building will be the new home of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. It will have one floor for infusion, one floor for outpatient clinics and three floors for patients staying overnight.

If plans are approved by the Maryland Health Care Commission and others, organizers said they would like to start construction sometime in 2021 and open three years later.

The designers and review panel members spent much of the meeting discussing options for improving traffic flow and pedestrian access to the expanded hospital, by both patients and staff.

The preferred solution, Bonner said, was to provide a vehicular entrance from W. Baltimore Street and an exit onto S. Greene Street. The design also calls for a “healing garden” to separate entrances for staff and patients.

The review panel reacted positively to the final choice.

Panel members Pavlina Ilieva and Osborne Anthony praised the designers for exploring a range of options and conducting on-site traffic studies to find a way to balance pedestrian and car arrivals.

“It really paid off,: said Ilieva, adding that she very much likes the beacon at the top of the building. “It really becomes a marker for the corner.”

“This design makes a lot of sense,” agreed panel member Sharon Bradley. “It’s much more welcoming than the current condition… I really like the way this has developed.”

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.