AIA Maryland Design Awards 2007
Within the walls of the church's structural shell, PFA restored and converted abandoned recreation space into four units. Ancillary structures behind the church were demolished and replaced with two new units adjacent to a new six-car parking garage.
The jury commented: "It is actually a much more difficult project than it would appear at the outset, and it's quite lovely that they managed to get so many units out of a small place. The inclusion of the addition to the rear of the building you would think would make for a very crowded, cramped site, but it's so well done that the entire composition is well integrated."
In the large-commercial category, the SallieMae Headquarters in Reston, Virginia, brought top honors for Boggs & Partners Architects and associate architect WDG Architecture.
The building's physical form is angled to respond to the site's geometry at the edge of Reston Town Center. The architects' intention was to reflect a mission of service to the higher-education community with an image of a progressive, forward-thinking design. The building is clad with a combination of architectural precast concrete, glass curtain wall, and aluminum panels.
A plinth conceals the service areas and most public parking, enhancing the pedestrian character Reston tries to promote. A "battered" wall massing is used to enhance this pedestrian scale, with stepped planters replicating natural stone forms. Inside, a full-height atrium is designed to foster between-floor communication of employees. The stair terminates at a rooftop terrace for employee use and large gatherings.
Receiving an honor award in the institutional category is the Maryland Humanities Council in Baltimore, by Ziger/Snead Architects. The Maryland Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes public humanities programming throughout the state and encourages public dialogue that interprets the human experience.
The organization recently relocated its headquarters to the ground floor of a former insurance building in the Mt. Vernon Cultural District. Working within a limited budget, the architects created a flexible, light-filled space for exhibitions, meetings, offices, and research.
Walls of translucent plastic transmit light to the offices and contrast with the exposed concrete shell. An exhibition wall integrates storage and a screen for rear projection of videos. Translucent graphics applied to the windows provide some privacy while illustrating the humanities disciplines.
According to the awards jury, this space is "probably the simplest project within the institutional category and yet it is amazingly consistent and strong... It is a lovely combination of materiality and light."
Also receiving an institutional honor award is the Banneker Douglass Museum in the historic district of Annapolis, Maryland, designed by Cho Benn Holback + Associates. The project involved the expansion of a public museum that had been housed in a 100-year-old church. The new program, on a very constrained urban site, includes museum-quality display galleries and archival storage facilities.
The jury appreciated the way the building "solves the problem of how to integrate a new structure juxtaposed with an existing structure and not copy the language exactly. You can tell the difference between the new and the existing and they work well together beautifully. The proportions and the idea of joining the old and the new with a void are extremely well executed, almost a textbook example..."
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