AIA Maryland Design Awards
by Brian Libby
More than 30 years ago, as an art student in Baltimore, George Holback would occasionally convince his brother, a police officer, to help him gain entry to the city's vacant American Brewery (then called the Wiessner Brewery).
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Once inside the unusual 1887 industrial structure, with its three dramatic pagoda-like towers, Holback would draw or take pictures; he cites it as inspiration for becoming an architect.
Holback recently had the opportunity to re-imagine his old haunt when his Baltimore architecture firm, Cho Benn Holback + Associates, undertook an adaptive reuse of the brewery for a social services nonprofit. The project received the top design award of 2009 from the Maryland chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The brewery reuse is one of 18 building projects honored by AIA Maryland this year. Other recipients include a student dormitory, waterside vacation homes, and a Smithsonian support center.
Adapting a Brewery
After sitting vacant since 1973, the American Brewery in Baltimore now serves as the headquarters for the nonprofit organization Humanim. When Cho Benn Holback began working on the renovation, they found a grain chute at the heart of the structure, as well as massive conveyor belts and heating kettles.
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The adaptive reuse of the American Brewery (1887) in Baltimore, Maryland, was named the 2009 "public building of the year" by AIA Maryland.
Photo: Paul Burk
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Cho Benn Holback + Associates designed the American Brewery renovation, which retained some of the building's brewing equipment.
Photo: Paul Burk
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