Ziger/Snead is a Baltimore architecture studio with a national reputation for design excellence

For more than 30 years, we have provided highly disciplined, original design solutions and superior service for public and private clients in the Baltimore region and beyond. Our projects include the programming, planning and design of a wide variety of new and historic buildings, from small renovations to large, complex institutional facilities with values up to $75 million. Our predominantly urban expertise includes work for academic campuses, cultural institutions, non-profit headquarters and community centers, religious spaces, urban redevelopment and mixed-use projects, and custom residential design.

Ziger/Snead’s work has received nearly 100 local, national and international awards for design excellence. The greatest testament to the value of the quality of our design and high level of service is the satisfaction of our clients and the large number of them who return to Ziger/Snead for subsequent projects.

We believe that the best architecture is true to its time, place, and purpose. We aspire toward work that is well-crafted, optimistic, open, simply and clearly articulated, and engaging. Our work is not representational or symbolic, but communicates its purpose through its clarity and appropriate use of architectural vocabulary and building technologies. Proportion, materials, detailing, and lighting serve to support functional and aesthetic goals. Sustainability is inherent in our comprehensive, efficient, and integrated approach to design. We take great pride in providing creative, dignified solutions to complex problems while honoring the owners’ budget and goals.  

Above all, we are architects who believe in the power of design to have a positive impact on quality of life.


Our services are a direct response to an intimate understanding of real needs and architectural problems. We seek to find the best value for our clients, focusing on the appropriate service at the appropriate time for each client’s business plan and financial constraints. Our evolved process and commitment to the latest technology and Building Information Modeling results in client benefits of efficiency, accuracy, and superb presentation quality, with professional management of costs and schedules. We encourage clients to engage Ziger/Snead early in the process to develop feasibility studies, verify program requirements, and provide conceptual sketches that will strategically position each project for the greatest success. Our architectural and interior design services continue from pre-design through construction administration and post occupancy evaluation. Our services include:


Project Positioning

In the earliest stages of a project we frequently find ourselves in an advisory role. Whether guiding clients through site or building selection, putting together the right development team, or creating the vision to assist with fundraising, we’re preparing the project to meet the needs of the owner and maximize community support and financial success. From our experience, the most significant cost-saving decisions are made at this stage and projects succeed when there is consensus between all interested parties before design begins. 


Feasibility Studies and Condition Assessments

Adaptively reusing and renovating existing buildings is one of the most sustainable approaches to designing new spaces because of the embodied energy in existing buildings. As the buildings in our cities and beyond age, we enjoy the challenge of repositioning them to meet today’s needs. Our years of experience provide us with understanding of how buildings age and how to assess the condition of materials, systems, and structure for new and potentially different uses. This understanding is applied to each feasibility study, specifying which repairs and replacements are required and which are recommended, and ensuring that the building will meet the program and space needs.  Our experience results in extremely accurate assessments of existing building conditions for renovations, additions, adaptive re-use, and historic preservation.



The financial and functional success of a project most directly relates to the success and thoroughness of the program. Program and space needs are based on interviews with the building’s users, analysis of specific research and a full understanding and documentation of  project needs and organizational goals. We work collaboratively with organizations to identify goals for: image and identity; function and space relationships; project costs, operation and maintenance; future flexibility and expansion; and long term energy usage and sustainability. These goals are strategically tested, documented, and diagrammed, using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other tools to relate the program directly to design options. 


Strategic Master Planning

Ziger/Snead  prepares alternate scenarios for optimizing decisions, based on its thorough understanding and synthesis of client goals, space needs, code and budgetary constraints, and site opportunities. The process involves more than the traditional site and facility assessments, but rather takes a long-term strategic and multi-disciplinary approach to the planning process by considering many variables that influence current and future opportunities. These include public and private incentives, operational and financial goals, market trends, environmental and infrastructure constraints, and others specific to each non-profit organization, developer or school. We enhance this service with the use of Building Information Modeling  to incorporate real world information into a building database, such as Owner programming, maintenance schedules, finishes, occupancies, day lighting, campus departments, phasing and occupancy schedules. These databases inform the analysis of space use and operational costs to more accurately optimize future development to meet functional and financial needs of the organization.


Full Architectural Services

We understand the importance of design that evolves from a thoughtful consideration of site context, programmatic and technical requirements, owner goals, and budget. Our portfolio represents a range of approaches, each suited to its unique condition and client’s vision. We believe the process of planning and designing involves significant dialogue and true collaboration among the entire team of owner representatives, technical consultants, review agencies, contractor, and architect. We take great pride in our ability to listen, and build on this dialogue to create architecture which satisfies each client’s unique aesthetic, programmatic, budgetary, and scheduling requirements. Our long history of building consensus among diverse and often conflicting constituencies has taught us that design is fundamentally enriched by an inclusive process. By listening carefully, challenging preconceptions, and engaging expert consultants, we consistently develop original design solutions that demonstrate a distilled aesthetic, superior functionality, great value, and an appropriate use of architectural vocabulary and building technologies.


Interior Design Services

Quality architectural design must be supported by interior spaces that reflect the client’s image and culture and maintain appropriate levels of comfort, environmental sensitivity, durability, and engagement. We take great care in creating environments which enhance the experience of those who work, live, worship, and learn in them by providing inviting, comfortable, functional, and durable spaces with respect for individual needs and communal interaction,  enhanced natural and artificial light, flexibility and openness in space design, and relationship to both indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.


Sustainable Design and LEED Certification

We believe the way we live, build, commute and consume has a significant impact on the environment, economy and society at individual and global scales, and our future depends to a large degree on sustainable architecture.  Through an integrated approach to design, engineering, and construction, we actively seek design solutions that optimize value relative to initial investment and long term environmental, economic, and social cost over the lifetime of a building. More than half of our staff is LEED Accredited and the ‘Ziger/Snead Green Team’ is charged with establishing, promoting, educating and shepherding the sustainability effort within the office, with our clients and design teams, and to the broader community.


We often use the USGBC LEED Rating System to help us gauge our efforts, educate clients and builders, and achieve the highest feasible level of sustainable design. Our portfolio includes several notable LEED Certified projects including: the Herring Run Watershed Association Headquarters, recognized as the first LEED Gold project in Baltimore City; John Hopkins University’s first LEED Gold project, The Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future; and the recently certified LEED Platinum Center for Parks & People at Auchentoroly Terrace. Ziger/Snead also provided architectural design services for Sandtown Habitat for Humanity’s first LEED Platinum Row House.


Ziger/Snead sees sustainable design as an asset to an integrated design process, using sustainability to find the most compelling way to solve design, program and cost requirements. As designers, we look beyond the specific requirements of LEED Certification to provide the end user with a facility that is comfortable, healthy, safe and inspiring through emphasis on day-lighting, responsible energy and water management, appropriate materiality, thermal comfort, spatial design and indoor air quality.