Social and Civic engagement within Baltimore is relatively easy to accomplish… typically it all happens because of ‘who you know’. You meet one person, who knows another… who knows another, and that person knows someone who is looking for support for an idea or a project or an effort of some kind.
While teaching at MICA I was fortunate enough to open a dialogue with Kathleen Lechleiter – a local architect who was doing a lot of work with and for the Baltimore Station, an organization that provided shelter + support for homeless, drug-addicted veterans. I came to meet the Director of the organization when Kathleen and I proposed an installation for their expansion project. One thing led to another over the course of a couple of years, and I was asked if I would be interested in helping the organization exhibit work for the ReStart with ART campaign – their annual fundraiser that typically developed their working budget for the year.
I offered the opportunity to some of my students, and they went to work on designing a way to curate the auction. We used recycled doors that were donated by Second Chance for the night, fabricating custom support brackets that would allow the doors to stand up while supporting the art to be auctioned.
The first year we were involved, the auction raised over 20K for its programs. So we did again the next year, to even more success.
I was then approached by another program director, this time for the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Baltimore Chapter (NAMI). They also had an annual fundraiser and wanted to have an art auction as well.
This time I engaged a few co-workers and friends, and we installed the same door installation used in the Baltimore Station auction, but this time with a series of fabric scrims that hung from the ceiling.
These efforts generate ways to engage people in need, and to develop connections to organizations that do important things in and around Baltimore. I have met some of the most inspiring people I know through such organizations… people that aren’t designers or artists… they don’t do creative things to inspire. Instead they dedicate their time and their hearts to a specific mission… and with their effort they improve lives.
It is here that design can be introduced as support for a greater cause. These installations, though temporary, are a small part in the effort to improve the conditions for people in need.
UNION MARKET 5th STREET RENOVATIONS
Union Market has quickly established itself as a destination area along the New York Avenue corridor into Washington D.C. The area began with the development of some mid-rise and high-rise housing stock in an area that had established tenant office spaces and some government programs. The rehabilitation of an existing building into an open market for food shops and cafes shifted the vibe of the area into a more complete urban 'center', with options for eating and drinking to compliment the business and living conditions. The original Union Market quickly established a brand for the neighborhood.
Looking to expand on their vision for the neighborhood, the developer engaged LED BETTER STUDIO and K.LECHLEITER ARCHITECT to help with the renovation and restoration of about 300 lineal feet of Facade facing 5th Street and Morse Street just south of the original Union Market food market. The goal was to establish a retail presence to co-habitate with the food market and other opportunities starting to shape the area. The main problem was that the existing historic structure had been extensively used as a warehouse distribution facility for a number of street vendors, meat vendors, and other random products. The spaces were not well cared for by the existing tenants. The bulk of the 5th Street Facade had to be torn out and reconstructed to look like traditional retail storefronts. The unique aspect to this design was the request to have varied character to the new storefronts, each with a different material palette and aesthetic.
We were then asked to continue design for the dark shell retail spaces behind the Facade - opening up the space for two stories of mixed retail, restaurants and 10,000 square feet of tenant office space. The overall project includes 50,000 square feet of renovated space, designed to be LEED compliant, with several new features to enhance the retail spaces that are subtly mixed in with the wonderful urban aesthetic of the existing structure.
This will be an exciting addition to the Union Market area, coming online toward the beginning of 2018.
As a recent full-time addition to the Housing studio at Hord Coplan Macht, I have a couple of projects coming on line, expected to complete in 2017. Prior to these efforts, I have served the Housing Studio at HCM in many capacities – typically as a detailing assistant to help a project architect round out their construction documents.
You can look forward to these projects coming to life in the near future:
Liberty Park is an abandoned block of housing at the intersection of Liberty and Park Avenues in downtown Baltimore, about two blocks north of the Convention Center. There is a historic building on the block, most recently used by Healthcare for the Homeless before they moved into a new space.
The developer for the project wanted a maximum unit yield while incorporating the historic building into the flavor of the street level architecture. The Historic Commission sponsored a design that had a distinct contrast between what was new and what was old. So we wound up keeping the HCH building and two facades from the context that were refurbished, then introducing a 9-story tower above to yield approximately fifty 1 and 2 bedroom units.
The project featured significant renovations to the interior and basement levels to deal with the added capacity for the tower. In addition, the historic building needs to remain intact and untouched as much as possible. We chose to distinguish the meeting points of the new and old with storefront/glazing to emphasize the difference. We then developed a façade using varied window sizes and metal panel with an accent color for specific balcony conditions. The idea was to keep the palette of materials simple, allowing the historic building to stay within the context of the neighborhood, and allowing the tower itself to be distinguished.
225 NORTH CALVERT
This project is the renovation of an existing office building that has fallen out of use. Constructed in three phases, the first two were 12-story building + addition all in post-tension concrete. The 3rd phase was 6 new stories placed on top of the 12-story building, all in steel. So the structural capacity of the columns and footings was at capacity.
We were tasked with adding 2 new levels of parking to compliment the 5 levels already existing in the building (2 below grade), then provide approximately 350 apartment units. I worked in the capacity of Project Architect, taking the project over from schematics, into design development and through construction documents.
The design is to speak to the millennial audience – thus a 5-story banner graphic will be emblazoned onto the garage screening – the largest such graphic in Baltimore. In addition, the exterior of the building skin is highlighted by a patterned logic, using colored metal panel inblue, yellow and red to accent the overall façade.
Because the existing building skin is being removed and only the slabs and structure is to remain, the design required highly specific detailing to ensure minimum structural retrofitting would be required.
At the top will be a pool amenity for tenants with city wide views in all directions.
Demolition is to start in early 2016. The apartments will open for renting in early 2018.
Chambers For An Ecological Life was an installation design for an interactive childrens experience in the midst of Schuylkill River Park just outside of Philadelphia, commissioned by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.
The design used perforated cor-ten steel panels to create four Chambers that dealt specifically with an issue for educating children about the environment, and hoped to demonstrate how each of the issues helped with the natural course of the environmental life cycle – birth/growth, water, sun, and decay.
Each chamber had an interactive component designed into it to help the realization of how growth managed from seed to sapling, how the warmth of the sun was needed to generate growth, how water was naturally filtered and cycled, and how decay was vital to a process of nature’s re-birth.
The four chambers aligned with the four directional orientations, connecting back to an understanding of the importance of north, south, east and west.
Engagement with the environment around us is one way to understand ourselves and our relationship with the world… this project attempted to promote a kinship between humankind and the natural world.
The University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, awarded the team of Hord Coplan Macht and The Freelon Group, Joint Venture, to design the new School of Engineering, Aviation, Computer and Mathematical Sciences building in Princess Anne, Maryland. The Freelon Group out of North Carolina were to spearhead the design due to their experience with laboratory buildings. The handled the project through Design Development.
Hord Coplan Macht served as the local architect during these intitial design phases, then took control of the project into Construction Documents and through the construction of the new campus building. The EACMS Building was to be the first building on the new East Quad that was an open cornfield at the project inception. As such, it’s relationship to the more historic campus played a critical role in the building’s orientation.
I served as Project Architect, managing the construction document process with a team of designers to assist. At the time, this was the first project to utilize sub-consultant Revit models in our office, so project coordination was a paramount issue throughout our effort.
Design was completed in August of 2013 for the 158,000 square foot, 75 million dollar project. Construction is set to complete January of 2016.
The project includes several interesting features – principally a formidable central Atrium that divides the functional program into quadrants. Also contained within the Atrium is the campus Radio Station – a glass box centered within the Atrium that was required to be acoustically isolated.
There is also a TV Broadcast Studio and support spaces in support of the Radio + TV curriculum – another acoustically isolated space. In addition to these spaces, the EACMS Building houses the Aviation program, including flight simulators within the aviation labs.
Due to the highly technical nature of these spaces, detailing to create the proper acoustical separation between spaces was critical and highly complex at times. Vibration isolations systems for the rooftop air handling units were utilized to keep noise out of the educational areas. The building is complete with its own Food Service area, faculty offices, wood shop, machine shop, High Bay space for special projects, and several other labs for the Engineering program.
MCHENRY ROW II – BANNER BUILDING
The Banner Building was a two-story expansion project to add leasable office square footage to a historic industrial building that is central to a growing and vital area in the Locust Point neighborhood of South Baltimore. The building had been in service for years, and until recently had housed a canning facility for the Phillip’s Seafood Company = a staple here in Baltimore.
Originally constructed for the Coca Cola Company as a Baltimore branch factory in the early 20th Century, Hord Coplan Macht was engaged to add 77,000 square feet to the leasable space on the property. I served under the project architect for this project as a detail and documentation facilitator.
The design made use of a Quest Window Wall system – a curtain-wall like system that is pre-assembled in components then lifted into place. The window wall in this case is approximately 22 feet high – a little too tall for traditional storefront, but curtain wall was outside of the budget. Our solution explored the window wall system for two reasons – it fit within the budget, slightly more expensive than storefront… and, as a component system, it simplified the detailing and installation methods to meet the developer’s tight construction schedule.
When the window wall system arrived on site, it took approximately 2 weeks to install the entirety of the 22-foot tall, 160 foot long north and west walls that enclosed the two-story addition.
Approximately 89,000 square feet of the original building was also renovated, and HCM provided the Landscape design as well.
The project has become a fixture in the neighborhood in a very short time, and has sponsored additional development in the adjacent properties with new housing in the works.