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Baltimore Architecture Foundation

BALTIMORE ARCHITECTURE MADNESS: Quarterfinals

The Quarterfinals of Baltimore Architecture Madness is finally here. Represented are buildings that span the 150-year history of AIA Baltimore. Learn more about what makes each of these 8 buildings so special. Will your favorites move on to the semi-finals?

Hear from our board members:
“In one sentence describe what you believe makes architecture stand the test of time.”


“I think what makes architecture stand the test of time is the presence of durability in which people can enjoy and be influenced by its design.”

-Lafaithea Stewart, BAF Board Director

“Architecture stands the test of time when it inspires the human soul and creates space for collective experiences.”

-Sarsfield Williams, BAF Board Director

“The very best Architecture communicates essential beauty, graceful balance and joyous delight that is both timeless and transcendent.”

-Anthony Consoli, BAF Board Director

Vote For Your Quarterfinal Favorites Now!

Photography Credit: Wikipedia Images

Peabody Library
E. George Lind (1878)

The iconic George Peabody Library was designed by architect Edmund G. Lind in collaboration with the first provost, Dr. Nathaniel H. Morison. Renowned for its striking architectural interior, the Peabody Stack Room contains five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies that rise dramatically towards the skylight. Begun in 1860, the library collection now contains more than 300,000 volumes, largely from the 18th and 19th centuries. It is consistently ranked among the world’s most beautiful libraries.

Photography Credit: Patterson Park Pagoda (Smallbones)

Patterson Park Pagoda
Charles Latrobe (1890)

From Explore Baltimore Heritage:

“Designed in 1890 by Charles H. Latrobe, then Superintendent of Parks, the Pagoda, was originally known as the Observatory. While known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day…The Pagoda stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park.”

Photography Credit: Pratt Library (Joseph Romeo)

Enoch Pratt Central Library
Clyde Friz (1933)

From Explore Baltimore Heritage:

“The construction of the current central library building on Cathedral Street began in 1931 and was completed in 1933. Architect Clyde N. Friz hoped to avoid the old-fashioned institutional character of the past in his design and instead to give the library “a dignity characterized by friendliness rather than aloofness…Although allowing for expansion, the design of the new building retained one of Pratt’s steadfast requirements: that there be no stairs leading into the main entrance. This seemingly odd requirement, and one that certainly went against the grain of architectural design for grand civic institutions at the time, was based on Pratt’s philosophy that the library should be open to all people.”

Belvedere Hotel
Parker & Thomas (c.1903)

The Beaux-Arts Belvedere Hotel is a beloved Mount Vernon landmark featuring a towering 35-foot high mansard roof with broad moldings and ornate dormers. The hotel was legendary, hosting the who’s who of its day and a real deal speakeasy. Despite being converted to apartments in the 1970s, one still gets a sense of the grand hotel on the inside. Weddings and conferences are still hosted in its ballrooms, and you can still sip on classic cocktails at the old speakeasy, today the Owl Bar.

Photography Credit: AIA Baltimore Historic Resource Committee Archives

One Charles Center
Mies van der Rohe (1962)

This somber, elegantly proportioned 24-story tower, designed by Mies van der Rohe, one of the giants of twentieth-century architecture, was the first new building in Charles Center—the massive urban renewal project to revitalize Baltimore’s downtown core. Mies van der Rohe was selected to design the building as part of a design competition that included architect giants of the day such as Marcel Breuer. The building is home to several architecture firms and the new Baltimore Center for Architecture and Design.

Photography Credit: James Rosenthal

Church of the Redeemer
Pietro Belluschi (1958)

The Church of the Redeemer was built in 1958 and designed by architect Pietro Belluschi in collaboration with RTKL. It is a Mid-Century Modern, re-interpretive addition to the original 1856 church by R. Snowden Andrews (1830-1903). Its sophisticated design integrates original stone and like materials to create a modern interpretation of spirituality.

Photography Credit: Camden Yards (Keith Allison)

Camden Yards
HOK w/ RTKL (now CallisonRTKL) (1992)

From the SAH Archipedia:

“Oriole Park at Camden Yards had a profound influence on late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century stadium design in the United States. Opened in 1992 as the home of the American League Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park was the first baseball-only Major League Baseball stadium built in decades. Perhaps even more significantly, Baltimore’s downtown ballpark ushered in a new retro design approach inspired by vintage baseball stadiums, while also embracing its historic setting.”

Photograph Courtesy of The American Visionary Arts Museum

American Visionary Art Museum
Alex Castro, Rebecca Swanston,
and Davis, Bowen & Friedel (1995)

The American Visionary Arts Museum is a brilliant example of sculptural expression. Architect Rebecca Swanston and artist Alex Castro the curving Trolley Works building and enlarged it with an addition that echoes its curves and creates a strong sense of motion. It’s playful, eye catching facade expresses the artworks to be found inside by self-taught individuals that make AVAM one of the city’s most beloved institutions.