The Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District is the state’s oldest cultural institution. Its campus is comprised of diverse buildings from a stately 1840s house to a streamlined 1940s Greyhound bus station. Exhibit space had been scattered in various locations, mixed in with the library and administrative functions. Ziger/Snead integrated these diverse buildings and programmatic elements through a comprehensive master plan, renovations, and a new entry and gallery building which unifies the complex facilitates the visitor’s experience. The new 40,000 sf zinc- and glass-paneled entry and gallery building conveys a progressive image for the institution while complementing the scale, proportions, and materials of the surrounding buildings. Windows placed at strategic locations introduce controlled indirect daylight into galleries. Visitors enter through a landscaped courtyard, across a reflecting pond, to the glassy main entry, also approached from the parking to the west. Other improvements include a renovated 1960s auditorium into a multipurpose space, renovation of the historic library reading space, expanded artifact storage facilities, and upgraded mechanical systems.
"The design is full of touches that come to be characteristic of Ziger Snead's work," explains Baltimore Sun architecture critic Edward Gunts. "[They include] making effective use of every square inch of space, limiting the palette of materials and solving old problems in new and unexpected ways."
Team: Mueller Associates - Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineer; Whitney Bailey Cox and Magnani - Civil Engineer; Morabito Consulting - Structural Engineer; Hughes Associates - Code Consultant; Michael Vergason LA - Landscape Architect; Fallows Associates - Hardware
Owner: Maryland Historical Society
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Construction Cost: $11,500,000
Area: 40,000 sf
Program: galleries and exhibition spaces, offices, classroom, storage space
Photography: Alain Jaramillo and Karl Connolly