This project is the adaptive reuse of an historic former public library/hardware store/row house into a center for community redevelopment. The community development corporation (CDC) combines a unique set of private and public programs and resources and to support three special designations–Highlandtown Main Streets, Healthy Neighborhoods and Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District. The property, a former branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, is specifically mentioned in the description of the Patterson Park/Highlandtown National Register District, and is physically SENSE OF PLACE AND QUALITY: The property, a former branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, is specifically mentioned in the description of the Patterson Park/Highlandtown National Register District, although it is physically in the Canton National Register District within the Highlandtown Main Street. This building, an excellent example of a nineteenth century commercial conversion, is most significant because of topography and location. The building is located at the geographic center of the historic commercial district and occupies the top of the hill that begat the name of the Baltimore County community (Highlandtown) before its 1918 annexation by the CIty. The building and program create an eastern complement to the successful Creative Alliance Arts Center in the Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District by employing extensive and visible fixed public art, rotating public art displays, and green building strategies. Working with the CDC to identify local artists, the art consultant developed a program for art depicting the uniqueness and vitality of the Highlandtown neighborhoods. A steel frame on the Highland Avenue elevation supports rotating public art installations. Applications for the first installation are currently in review. SUSTAINABILITY: The project received Three Stars, the equivalent of LEED® Gold, in the Baltimore CIty Green Building Program. The rooftop display of urban environmental techniques for sustainable living, such as photo voltaic solar panels, a cool roof, an extensive green roof, rooftop planters (intensive green roof), rain water harvesting, reclaimed materials, rapidly renewable resource materials, and a green wall demonstrate to hundreds of first time homebuyers who attend workshops in the CDC the available technologies for sustainable urban living. The solar consultant, designed and installed a Grid-Tied 8.0 kW Solar Array with online monitoring and a flatscreen display in the lobby. SImply put, this means, SE CDC is saving on utility costs by producing some of their own electricity and also generating revenue by selling their Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). The visible display in the lobby illustrates the benefits of renewable energy. With this system SE CDC provides guidance in incorporating photo voltaic solar energy generation to local business and interested home owners. The roof plantings are located in two different setting conditions. The extensive green roof on the second floor roof models the requirements and opportunities of installing a green roof in a Baltimore row house. The planters on the terrace, intensive planters with deeper soil, are used to model urban gardening. The roof plantings will also be utilized as herb gardens by the restaurant. VISIONARY AND ABLE TO BE EMULATED: Very few community development corporations in the United States have invested so heavily in architecture to demonstrate revitalization techniques and investment in public art. The restoration of a vacant public building and adjacent vacant shop, the preservation of an historical building, the investment in green technology and public art, and the sheer visibility of the project all rise above standard community-based programs.
Project Status: Built
- Randy Sovich, AIA: RM Sovich Architecture