On Thursday, June 19, 2014, the Baltimore Design School won a Preservation Award from Baltimore Heritage , Inc. Ziger/Snead was the lead architect on the building that was abandoned for over 30 years and was a blight on the Greenmount West neighborhood until the renovations were completed in September 2013.
The building was built in 1914 and was originally a manufacturing plant for Crown Cork and Seal. At its peak, Crown produced half of the world’s bottle caps. As times changed, the building was leased out to Lebow Brothers’ Clothing Company which made high-end men’s clothes. In the ’80’s there was a labor dispute and when workers left the building that day, it was shuttered and never re-opened. In fact, when the builders came to start work on the badly decaying structure, they found coffee cups still sitting where workers had left them more than 30 years previous as well as racks of clothes left standing.
The building was the first of its kind in Baltimore utilizing the flat slab poured concrete skeleton which allowed for floor to ceiling windows on all floors. It also employed a unique interior ventilation system throughout the hollow concrete columns whereby air was forced from the roof of the building out through the columns and then through the open windows. The cooling system was replaced by an energy-efficient air conditioning system, but there are plates on the columns covering the original ventilation system.
Ziger/Snead Partner, Steve Ziger, states “Baltimore Heritage not only supports the preservation of our past, but recognizes the role that restoration and adaptive reuse play in transforming our communities. We are proud to have been a part of the team that transformed the Baltimore Design School from a blight in its neighborhood to a catalyst for change”.
Baltimore Design School was founded in 2010 by Senator Catherine Pugh to be a premier school in Baltimore City for grades 6-12 for students interested in the fields of architecture, fashion design and graphic design. The school will enroll approximately 450 students in the Fall of 2014 with a full enrollment of 700 in Fall of 2016.
Founded in 1960, Baltimore Heritage, Inc. is Baltimore’s nonprofit historic and architectural preservation organization. With two staff members, 33 volunteer board members, and a host of volunteers, it works to preserve and promote Baltimore’s historic buildings and neighborhoods.
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