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Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, United States

Thursday 15 Jan 2009

By young minds, for young minds

© RTKL.com/David Whitcomb 
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RTKL competition brings best design for Maryland Institute College of Art halls 

In a heavily trafficked location bordering one of Baltimore’s main highways, MICA sought a new 200-bed gateway student residence hall that would serve as an exciting visual gateway to the school and highlight the Northern edge of campus. Conceived as the result of an RTKL interoffice design contest in which two young architects from 7 design offices competed, the 99,000-sq ft structure uses an unconventional format to address the challenges posed by the space limitations of the small site.

Despite each office being commended for their work the eventual winner was the London team. A distinctive circular structure sectioned into three pods of residential units surrounds a private central courtyard, accommodating small-site constraints by breaking down scale. The drum features a modern exterior of streamlined glass panels varying in color, transparency, and reflectivity. A 10-floor fritted glass studio tower serves as an anchor, partially shielding noise from the highway while functioning as a billboard-style showcase for the artistic work occurring in its 88 studios. A ground floor wall wraps around the base of the building and defines the structure’s edge along the street. First story amenities further the link to the local community, fusing public and private space in a café, black box theater, and gallery area.

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