After 22 years in the Stieff Silver Building, our Baltimore office is relocating to the Liberty Building in Locust Point’s McHenry Row.
The Liberty Building embodies Baltimore’s authentic spirit and history of industry. Built in 1921 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building is a two-story facility that previously housed operations for Simmons Mattress Company, Coca Cola, and Phillips Seafood. Now, GWWO will become a part of the building’s unfinished story.
As a firm whose designs are rooted in meaningful narrative and context, the relationship between history and the present follows us into our own workspaces, reinforcing our founding philosophy. With its brick walls, high ceilings of exposed wood decking, and large-scaled windows and skylights, our new contemporary workspace has kept many of its former features while still providing modern amenities.
To create an inspiring, comfortable work environment worthy of our collaborative culture, we incorporated several features of the WELL Building Standard, a guideline for creating spaces that are beneficial to human health and well-being, including improved acoustical performance, access to natural light throughout the entire studio, and availability of a variety of healthy eating options.
Our workspaces were designed to foster both collaboration and personal focus. With sit-to-stand desks, open furniture, and individual and project-based storage spaces, the design balances individual needs with the needs of the shared team projects. The large, open common area is the heart of the office, literally and figuratively, as it fosters our rich culture of investing heavily in collaboration and professional and personal development, by hosting many gatherings per week including those that are staff-wide; project charrettes and discussions; G-Tech, our technical professional practice presentation series; Design Conversations, our design and critical thinking discussion series; and more. It offers multiple types of seating, from soft seats for grouped conversations to rolling chairs that can be moved easily.
Additional features include:
- A large kitchen in a relaxed setting and featuring our resource materials library, enabling the space to also function as a project layout space and meeting area.
- Two breakout areas: one with a meeting table, the other with soft conversational seating and a virtual reality lab setup.
- Individual telephone rooms for private meetings.
- A “Quiet Zone” featuring an acoustically absorptive decorative woven felt wall hanging designed by Petra Vonk, next to pairs of high-backed sofas for focused work and quiet conversation.
Using natural, locally sourced materials was a priority. Handcrafted walnut wood sourced from the local craftspeople at Brick + Board and installed by the Baltimore artisans at Studios on Sisson fit perfectly alongside the building’s existing exposed wood for a feeling of warmth and compatibility. Our wooden countertops and large conference room table were born from Sandtown Furniture Co. In the kitchen, we uncovered the original wood floor to reveal and refinish the original building material.
Outside of the Liberty Building sits Locust Point, a formerly industry-heavy neighborhood that attracted factory workers and immigrants and is now a mix of some of the city’s oldest rowhomes, along with some of its newest residences, dining, and retail. The area is also home to Fort McHenry, the birthplace of our National Anthem and a GWWO-designed interpretive center.
We’re thrilled to move into a new space that maintains our firm’s legacy of practicing out of renovated historic structures in Baltimore. From our first building, two adjoined brick rowhouses in the heart of Mount Vernon, to our most recent office, the home of Stieff Silver silversmith operations from 1924 through 1999, we are committed to keeping Baltimore’s rich history alive.
Cover image courtesy of 28 Walker Development. Photo by Kevin Weber.