Architects: Behnisch Architekten, Ayers Saint Gross
Location: 1401 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD USA
Client: University of Baltimore
Gross Area: 18.0123 m2 / 194.000 sqft
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten
The University of Baltimore called for a new building for its law school that would offer a contemporary and functional solution, as well as establish the school as an integral partner in enhancing the culture, commerce, and future of Baltimore and the region. A competition was held for the design of the new building. Five international architects were invited to participate in the competition after a two-phase RFQ. Behnisch Architekten in partnership with Ayers/Saint/Gross of Baltimore were selected as the winning entry.
The new home of the John and Frances Angelos Law Center will unite classrooms, faculty offices, administrative space, and the law library under a single roof for the first time. This building, to be located at the prominent intersection of Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street, will functionally & symbolically define the School of Law as an Ωcademic & social nexus, offering state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities while fostering an interactive, communicative environment for collaboration between students, faculty, and administrators.
With the proximity of the site to Baltimore’s principal train station, Penn Station; at the terminus of one of Baltimore’s great urban thoroughfares; and immediately adjacent to the Jones Falls Expressway, this project is also an opportunity to create an important and highly visible threshold to the campus and the City, and to demonstrate the commitment of the University of Baltimore to the renewal and development of the city. The building serves as a gateway into the city and engages the surrounding neighborhood.
The Angelos Law Center is the first large-scale opportunity for the University to demonstrate their intent to pursue strategies that “eliminate global warming emissions” and achieve climate neutrality. The School of Law will maximize the use of natural daylight on the building interior; intelligently apportion spaces such that tempering of interiors is optimized based on function and occupancy; conserve and reuse as many water resources as feasible; and utilize a flexible and highly efficient façade system to meet all of these goals. It will also engage the Law School community by providing interior spaces that connect people to the cycles of nature (light, air, water) and to other people in the building.
The building form consists of three interlocking L-shaped volumes which articulate the functions of the building program – classroom facilities, offices, and the law library. The administrative volume also includes the separate accessible clinics, where students, faculty, and local attorneys provide legal services to the community. An atrium, the void connecting the three volumes, provides space for a lobby, coffee bars, and lounges. The Appellate Moot Court extends down from the main lobby to a lower garden level; court hearings, lectures and events are held within its assembly space.