Contemplating the Future Campus
The new master plan pushes out the boundaries of Johns Hopkins' medical complex while compressing the core.
Time and events alter plans. When Johns Hopkins Hospital drew up a master plan nearly 10 years ago (the one that originally placed its new Cancer Center on the site of the Phipps Building), managed care was just beginning to shake up the health care industry. Since then, nearby Church Hospital closed its doors, Hopkins bought the property and swapped it with the city for an 8-acre parcel adjacent to the hospital. Then the mayor started talking about a biotech park just north of the medical center. Suddenly, the landscape in East Baltimore had changed.
Those events have been the catalyst for a new master plan, the first comprehensive one for the entire East Baltimore campus, encompassing, in addition to Hopkins Hospital, the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, and the Kennedy-Krieger Institute.
Leaders from all these institutions jointly chose a consultant-Cooper, Robertson & Partners, a New York-based architecture and urban design firm that has done work for medical campuses like Duke, Yale, Columbia-Presbyterian and Texas Medical Center.
David McGregor, managing director at Cooper, Robertson, caught his first glimpse of Hopkins from his train window. In a cab from Penn Station, he was driven across Biddle, then down Wolfe Street. "You're down in this valley," says McGregor, pointing out that there's a 20-foot difference in grade from Monument to Madison streets, and another 20 feet from Madison Street to Ashland Avenue. "You're looking straight up the hill and there's this thing up there."
His first impression?
Forbidding, he admits.
He also was struck by how densely the campus is built ("There is no relief") and by the aging inpatient facilities. "While they're old, medicine is new, it's changing," says McGregor. After interviewing more than 120 faculty and staff members, McGregor is convinced that all patient rooms should be private, with enough room to bring more equipment to the bedside or for family members to stay overnight.
Modernizing Hopkins' clinical space is a high priority, according to Sally MacConnell, the hospital's vice president for facilities. Plans for two new patient buildings-the children's and maternal facility and the adult bed tower, which will connect with the Weinberg Building and back into the rest of the hospital-haven't changed appreciably from the hospital's last master plan of the early 1990s. MacConnell anticipates that both buildings will be complete "well within the next decade," although they are largely dependent on philanthropy.
Plans for expanded laboratory space are more fluid, given the breakneck pace at which research is growing. There are two sites available near the Bunting-Blaustein Building. The 8 acres fronting Orleans Street is another possibility, as is the area north of Madison Street. Or perhaps a twin of the Ross Building might be built on the site of the Rutland Garage.
"We've tried to identify a number of places where research could go that is close to where research is going on now to keep them together," says McGregor, "while recognizing there's a lot of opportunity to get more research grants."
A replacement for the Preclinical Teaching Building also is being planned that would remain geographically close to the basic sciences. Perhaps the 1830 Building could be re- worked, proposes McGregor, with an auditorium outfitted with the latest technology in the lower level of the new twin Ross Building.
The schools of Nursing and Public Health, now neighbors on Wolfe Street, might conceivably build something together and share space. McElderry Street could be closed and turned into green space.
Meanwhile, support services-an additional power plant, garage, loading docks-will be clustered together on the 8-acre site on Orleans Street. There was a conscious decision not to erect any major clinical, research or educational facilities there.
"The most important resource we have here is people's time," says McGregor, "so you have to bring the [similar] facilities as close together as possible."
From the 8 acres will arise a patient and family building to serve the Cancer Center. There's also talk of putting a new kitchen there, where patient meals would be cooked and chilled, then be delivered and heated right on the units. The site also might include residential buildings for medicine, nursing and public health students. Or perhaps, if the School of Public Health gets more space, Hampton House could be converted back to a residence.
"A lot of things you can't do until you do something else," explains McGregor. "For example, you can't empty the Jefferson Street (old Oncology) Building-where the adult bed tower will go-until at least the Broadway Research Building is opened." Within the next three months, McGregor's firm will supply Hopkins not only with a budget and master plan looking out 25 years, but an analysis of what could get done when.
What will happen to the older buildings on campus?
"We know we don't need both the new buildings we're talking about building and all of the old buildings," says MacConnell, "nor can we afford, quite frankly, to occupy and operate all that square footage."
Therefore, selective demolition of the older buildings along Monument Street may be in the future. The result would be open, green space.
"This is not a very inviting place to be," says McGregor. "But the advantage you have is priceless-which is, the very best minds are here. I know people work hard here. I've seen that. But you also need three minutes a day sitting under a tree. You do your work better when you're in a welcoming place. You do."