GWWO is pleased to announce that three projects—the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, Maryland Institute College of Art Dolphin Design Center, and New Carrollton Library—have received awards for their design excellence.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by AIA Maryland, AIA Baltimore, and AIA Potomac Valley. While each building is programmatically different, they’re all similar in that the driving factor behind each was to make a positive impact on the community by creating inclusive and transformative experiences. From telling the extremely powerful narrative of Harriet Tubman to enhancing the dialogue between MICA’s creators and the City of Baltimore, to promoting intergenerational collaboration between members of the New Carrollton community, we’re proud of the impact our work has made and thankful to our clients for allowing us to be a part of their story” said Alan Reed, FAIA, LEED AP, GWWO President and Design Principal.
Submissions were scored based on each design’s ability to elevate the human experience while addressing the project’s practical needs; the approach used to advance the missions of sustainability and/or resiliency; and the community impact achieved through improvements to the social or physical setting. Each jury also considered the design’s response to the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence measures—Designing for Integration, Designing for Energy, Designing for Equitable Communities, Designing for Water, and Designing for Resources.
The renovation and addition of the New Carrollton Library completed for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System was dually honored by AIA Maryland and AIA Potomac with Merit Awards for its dramatic transformation of a 40-year old Brutalist-style structure.
The AIA Maryland Awards Jury “was very impressed by this innovative renovation of a challenging, unfriendly building. We loved that the architects took design inspiration from the existing geometry and expanded it vertically, bringing much needed natural light to the central common room, and a dynamic lightness to the whole structure, reconnecting it to the community. In addition to clear circulation, and brighter engaging spaces, there are lovely details to engage users at many levels.”
“A dramatic transformation of a tired building. The new entry acts as a welcoming presence for the community while also helping to clarify space for its users; ultimately making the library more accessible. As architects try to help contribute to the climate crisis conversation, we must become advocates for the thoughtful reuse of existing buildings. The alternations made to this project will ensure that this building is an important center for its community into the future,” praised the AIA Potomac Valley Awards Jury.
The MICA Dolphin Design Center received equal praise from AIA Baltimore and was bestowed an Excellence in Design Honorable Mention Award. Previously receiving a Merit Award from AIA Maryland, the new makerspace building is highly sensitive to its context in scale, massing, proportion, and color, while a “kit of parts” exterior material palette, assembled with visible mechanical connections and fasteners, hint to and celebrate the innovation and invention happening within.
The jury “appreciated the level of thoughtfulness conducted in the study of the surrounding context and that it was artfully reflected in the composition, brick, and lines. Great care and detailing speak to this building as a makerspace inside and out. It truly serves as a beacon for this neighborhood.”
Named the AIA Maryland Public Building of the Year, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center received the organization’s most prestigious award for its design excellence, focus on sustainability, and community impact. The jury noted “We are living in a time when Americans need to understand our history and celebrate its heroes such as Tubman whose actions affected so many people. She continues to be a role model and this Visitor Center does her story justice.”
To learn more about GWWO’s design philosophy and process, please see here.