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Architect: Jane Jacobs wouldn’t celebrate Transamerica Building

(The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Baltimore’s Transamerica Building. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Urbanist Jane Jacobs would hate the Transamerica Building, according to one architect.

Bryce Turner, president and CEO of BCT Architects, told Baltimore’s architecture review panel during a meeting on Thursday that the author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” would disdain the city’s tallest structure.

“It’s a pretty monumental building. It’s not what Jane Jacobs would celebrate,” Turner told the panel.

Turner’s firm designed a proposed 27,500-square-foot retail building by developer Corporate Office Properties Trust along Pratt Street adjacent to the Transamerica Building. His comments were made while trying to explain decisions his firm made designing the two-story retail project in relation to the nearby tower.

Jacobs became a folk hero for her battles with powerful New York planner Robert Moses over urban renewal plans that would’ve destroyed Greenwich Village.

As an author and urbanist Jacobs advocated for “a place-based, community-centered approach to urban planning,” according to the Project for Public Spaces. She favored dense, mixed-use development that depended on strong input from communities.

While the Transamerica Building adds to the city skyline, the building stands alone, surrounded by open space that many modern planners influenced by Jacobs would view as wasteful.