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Hopkins Press Wraps Up $4.2M Renovation

The 114-year-old building that houses the Johns Hopkins University Press has a modern new look after a $4.1 million, two-year renovation.

The changes include new art and book displays, modern glass doors, a public space to hold author events, and infrastructure upgrades. Jack Holmes, director of development for JHU Press, says the building renovation gives the historic building a modern touch.

"It's a mix of old and new. It's just cool to see that."

Many of the office doors were replaced with frameless, frosted glass.

The 27,000-square-foot building, which dates to 1897, is a former church that went through a complete overhaul when the press moved in 1993.

The renovations also include an upgrade to its IT system and HVAC.

"There was a practical need to refresh the office after 15 years," Holmes says.   

Press officials also wanted to use the renovation as an opportunity to better display its work with modern shelves holding books it has published.

Billed as the nation's oldest university press, JHU Press publishes 60 scholarly journals and nearly 200 new books every year. Baltimore's Read & Co. Architects, which has spearheaded more than two-dozen Johns Hopkins projects, designed the renovation. Baltimore's Plano-Coudon LLC served as the general contractor.

Writer:Julekha Dash
Sources: Jack Holmes, JHU Press; Read & Co. Architects

Morgan State's $59M Architecture Building to Debut August 2012

Construction is underway at Morgan State University's $59 million architecture school, slated to open August 2012.

The Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies will bring Morgan's architecture, city and regional planning, construction management, and landscape architecture schools under one roof.

The center, expected to receive a silver or gold LEED certification, will also house research on green building technology, says MaryAnne Akers, dean of the school of architecture and planning. Researchers at the center will hopefully create and invent technology that help buildings use less energy. Kiosks will inform visitors to the center how much energy the building is saving.

"It will bring us more visibility for the architecture program," Akers says of the center.

The building, which broke ground last year, will be home to the school's civil engineering and transportation programs as well. The 126,000-square-foot school will contain four classrooms, 100 offices, conference rooms, an atrium with skylights, a green roof and 300 parking spaces.

The historically black college offers one of two architecture programs in the state. The other is offered at the University of Maryland College Park.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: MaryAnne Akers, Morgan State

BMA Selects Ziger/Snead for $24M Renovation

The Baltimore Museum of Art has chosen Ziger/Snead to design its biggest capital project in its history, a $24 million renovation to be completed in 2014.

A total of 11 architecture firms competed for the project, of which the BMA selected five for its short list. Those firms were Ayers Saint Gross, Design Collective, Inc,. GWWO Inc./Architects, Ziger/Snead, and RTKL Associates Inc.

The BMA chose Ziger/Snead based on its clarity of vision and design and their success in renovating both historic and contemporary buildings. Its projects include the Maryland Institute College of Art Brown Center and the Frederick Douglas-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum.

The BMA renovation is expected to create 185 construction and other jobs.

The renovation will include upgrades to visitor amenities, infrastructure improvements, and better displays of the museum's 90,000 works of art. Two new roofs and a building automation system to improve care of the museum's art are part of the upgrades.

The project will be funded in part by a $10 million multi-year commitment from the state and $2.5 million in bonds from Baltimore City.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Anne Mannix, BMA

City Panel Approves $4.2M Design of New USS Constellation Visitor Center

It's been in the planning stages for 10 years. Now, it looks like this ship is almost ready to sail.

Baltimore City's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel gave its final approval this month for a new Education and Heritage Center at the ship museum USS Constellation.

Now it just needs another $1.6 million in funding to open by spring 2012, Constellation Executive Director Christopher Rowsom says.  It's already gotten $2.6 million from federal, state and city government.

The new building will contain more extensive interpretative exhibits detailing what life was like on board the 19th century ship, Rowsom says.

Crafted by Museum Design Associates of Cambridge, Mass., the expanded exhibits will hopefully boost the city's cultural and heritage tourism promotions.

The exhibits will highlight the ship's role in fighting the African slave trade when it intercepted three slave ships from 1859 to 1861.

"Baltimore is a very historical place," Rowsom says. "We want to have everything interpreted and displayed properly."

Designed by W Architecture & Landscape Architecture of New York, the new wood-and-glass structure will be modern looking, Rowsom says.

At 12-feet high, the new visitors' center will be half the height of the current structure and won't block the view of other ships at the Inner Harbor, Rowsom says.

"It's not a very nice piece of architecture and it blocks the views of the ship," he says of the current education center.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Christopher Rowsom, USS Constellation

UMBC breaks ground on new building for the performing arts

The University of Maryland Baltimore County has broken ground on a $170 million  performing arts and humanities building that will be the Catonsville school's largest building to date.

"We have vibrant arts and humanities [programs] here that don't have as high a visibility as science and engineering," UMBC spokesman Thomas Moore says.

"We're hoping this will provide an opportunity for people to get to know us better."

Known for its computer science and engineering programs, UMBC officials hope that the building will boost its reputation in these fields and get more locals involved with the school by showcasing performances and lectures.

The 167,000 square foot building will open in two phases. The first phase, the department of theater and English, will open in 2012.  It will also include the Dresher Center for the Humanities, which will host public lectures and events. The second phase, which houses the department of dance, music, philosophy and ancient studies, will open in 2016.

"We're confident that every student who begins here will end up taking classes in this building," Moore says. "It's a building that will touch of the lives of every student."

The bulk of the building's funding will come from the state's capital budget.

UMBC officials hope the Catonsville location will make it convenient for people from other areas to catch a performance or talk at the new building. The campus is close to Interstates 95 and 695 and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Boston's William Rawn Associates Inc. and Grimm + Parker Architects of Calverton designed the building. William Rawn's other projects include the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Music Center at Strathmore and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood.

Moore says the stainless steel and brick structure at 1000 Hilltop Circle will have a reflective quality that will display different hues at different times of the day.

"We hope it will be a very beautiful-looking building when it's done."

Source: Thomas Moore, UMBC
Writer: Julekha Dash

Tile company picks Canton Broom Factory for its first Baltimore area showroom

A 27-year-old Washington, D.C., area tile company is taking its stone, glass and ceramics designs to Baltimore's Canton neighborhood. Architectural Ceramics plans to open a 1,600-square-foot showroom at 3500 Boston St. by mid-August, according to Brooke Laura, an executive assistant at the company.

The firm has had an office in the building known as the Broom Factory for about two years. But the office was quickly growing out of space to store enough tiles to show clients, Laura says.

"Our tiles fills up our office pretty quickly," she says.

The showroom will serve mainly residential clients, though the company's Baltimore area clients also include hotels, designers, architects and other commercial business.

Architectural Ceramics' other showrooms are located in Rockville, Chevy Chase, Alexandria, Va., and Falls Church, Va.

The company settled on the location because it's convenient to Fells Point and downtown, and is visible from the road, Laura says.

"It's a prime location that we really like," Laura says. "We wanted to get it while we could. We've been doing well there for two years. We think it will be a great location."

Though the housing market continues to recover, the company hopes it can  fill a niche in the area as there aren't many tile companies in the area.

"We'll be filling a void in the Baltimore area," Laura says. "That's our hopes anyway. "

Source: Brooke Laura, Architectural Ceramics
Writer: Julekha Dash
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