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Baltimore Building of the Week: Peabody Institute

If you enjoyed the tour of the Peabody Library during our 50th Anniversary Celebration back on June 11, you will likely enjoy this week’s entry in our Baltimore Building of the Week series on the Peabody Institute,

Image courtesy Jack Breihan

Although a long row of Italianate rowhouses (think Union Square) could look like one of the urban palaces of the Italian Renaissance, Baltimore boasts a few genuine Italianate palaces. In 1857 the international philanthropist George Peabody endowed Baltimore with an institute devoted to music and the arts. The architect Edmund G. Lind designed its initial building in 1859 and a large addition containing a fireproof library built 1875-78. Although the magnificent cast-iron Peabody Library draws the most attention, Lind has done an excellent job uniting the exterior facades of the two buildings beneath a heavy Italianate cornice and balustrade.

Baltimore Building of the Week: Old Loyola College

Revealing his fondness for the history of his own institution, Dr. John Breihan, a professor of history at Loyola University Maryland, offers this week’s Baltimore Building of the Week on the historic buildings of St. Ignatius Church and Old Loyola College, used since the 1970s as the home of Center Stage,

Image courtesy Jack Breihan

Just a few blocks away from the Peabody, stretching along Calvert Street between Madison and Monument Streets, stands another massive Italian palace, built for another educational institution. The patron here was the Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order. Again, we see arched windows with elaborate moldings, and a heavy Italianate cornice unifying the northern half, containing St. Ignatius Church (designed by Louis L. Long and completed in 1856) with the southern (designed by O’Connor and Delaney of New York and finished in 1899). Besides the parish church, this huge redbrick palace housed Loyola College and Loyola High School until they split into two separate institutions and moved away in 1922. Since the mid-1970s the long vacant southern section has been imaginatively re-used for two theaters designed by James Grieves and the firm of Ziger, Hoopes, and Snead for the Center Stage repertory theater.

2010 Preservation Awards: Hotel Brexton

Following on our recent feature on the American Brewery in East Baltimore, we are excited to share the second entry in our series on the 2010 Baltimore Heritage Preservation Award Winners: Mount Vernon’s Hotel Brexton.

Hotel Brexton at night, image courtesy Daniel Truitt

Constructed in 1881, the seven story Hotel Brexton at 868 Park Avenue is elegantly squeezed onto a tiny triangular lot between Park Avenue and Tyson Street in Mount Vernon. Perhaps the most famous resident of this “residential hotel” was Bessie ‘Wallis’ Warfield, later the Duchess of Windsor. After years of vacancy and neglect, RWN Development acquired the building and finished a total renovation earlier this year. The building is now a hotel and is a worthy addition to the national Historic Hotels of America. The Adaptive Reuse and Compatible Design Award goes to owners and operators RWN Development, general contractor HOD LLC, and architects Kann Partners.
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2010 Preservation Awards: Professional Arts Building

Image courtesy Kann Partners

Originally constructed as the “Medical Arts Building” in 1927, the Professional Arts Building at 101 West Read Street served as offices for medical personnel until it saw a decline in occupancy in the 1990s. The large 110,000 square foot building was left more than seventy-five percent vacant for a decade prior to its rehabilitation in 2009. Restoration work included repairing the original terra cotta balustrade, refurbishing the main lobby and elevator lobbies in the upper floors, and restoring the storefront on Cathedral Street. Kann Partners was the architect and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse were the builders.
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2010 Preservation Awards: UB Liberal Arts and Policy Building

Image courtesy Cho Benn Holback + Associates

The University of Baltimore’s Liberal Arts and Policy Building at 10 W. Preston Street originally housed the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal secret society founded in 1894 and the first such society to be incorporated under an act of Congress. The co-educational institution, University of Baltimore, acquired the building and undertook an extensive renovation project in which the original stained glass and spiral stairs were restored, as was the limestone fronts along Charles Street. The work even uncovered the original tile floor, which was cleaned and reused. The University of Baltimore is the owner and Cho Benn Holback + Associates was the architect.
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