August 22, 2014
Frank (Gehry) and pioneering developer Jim (Rouse), that is. In the early 1970s, Frank Gehry completed one of his first buildings, the headquarters of the Rouse Company (now the Howard Hughes Corporation) in Columbia, Md.
The building just underwent a renovation by Baltimore’s Cho Benn Holback + Associates, and reopened earlier this week–as a Whole Foods.
I drove to Columbia to check it out.
Cho Benn removed the original third floor to make a double-height space for Whole Foods, but otherwise deferred to Gehry’s design; his white stucco and wood trellises are intact.
I especially liked how the architects reinterpreted the small glass atria at the front. (Is that the right term for them? They’re such a hallmark of 1970s and 1980s corporate architecture, yet I’m not sure what they’re called.)
The Whole Foods overlooks a manmade lake with a promenade that Rouse envisioned as Columbia’s main civic space. There was hardly anyone around on a gray Friday morning. More on Columbia and its future in my next post.