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Designing the AVAM – Winner of Baltimore Architecture Madness

May 21, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

By Donation | Register

AVAM Founder and Director Rebecca Hoffberger, and architects Rebecca Swanston and Diane Cho celebrate the design of this Baltimore treasure!

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) was crowned winner of BAF’s Architecture Madness Tournament, which included 64 exceptional Baltimore buildings built between 1870 and today, hosted in celebration of AIA Baltimore’s 150th anniversary.We’ll be joined by AVAM founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger and architects Diane Cho and Rebecca Swanston to celebrate and reflect upon the design of Baltimore’s most beloved building of the past 150 years.

Completed in 1995, AVAM is a brilliant example of sculptural expression. Architect Rebecca Swanston, FAIA and designer Alex Castro incorporated the curving Trolley Works building and enlarged it with an addition that echoes its curves and creates a strong sense of motion. Its playful, eye-catching facade, created by youth in the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services as a way to provide them with tangible skills and personal development, was an echoing sentiment from Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Founder/Director and Primary Curator of AVAM that “social justice is life’s highest performance art”. The shimmering and whimsy exterior mirrors the artworks found inside by self-taught individuals that make AVAM one of the city’s most beloved institutions. Architect Diane Cho, AIA of Cho Benn Holback + Associates (today Quinn Evans) led the 2004 expansion of the museum transforming an old whiskey barrel warehouse into AVAM’s Jim Rouse Visionary Center. Both projects are stellar examples of adaptive use – the creative repurposing of historic buildings.

When asked to describe why they voted the way they did, Architecture Madness voters emphasized how AVAM’s architecture embodies the museum’s spirit. As one voter put it, “It feels alive. It feels like a building that embraces all people and inspires creativity and a sense of wonder.”

About this Event

This program is hosted on Zoom. Upon registering you will receive an email confirmation and a Zoom link. If you do not receive a link, please contact If you do not contact us at least 1 hour prior to the start of the program, we cannot guarantee admittance.

The Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage present the Virtual Histories Series: 30 minute live virtual tours and presentations focusing on Baltimore architecture, preservation and history. Hosted every Friday at 1:00 pm EST. This special program is hosted in partnership with the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). Follow them on Facebook and Twitter: @theavam and Instagram: @the_avam.

Tickets are donation based. We encourage you to give what you can to support BAF and Baltimore Heritage. Your support helps us make up for lost tour and program revenue from COVID-19 and create more virtual programs like this.