Year: 2015

December 17, 2015

like beautiful garage doors by Clopay to compliment the cedar porch…
garage doors blog
and clean, straight plumbing and condensation lines set against a backdrop of taped SIGA Majpell.

December 16, 2015

Upon the arrival of the Roxul mineral wool insulation for sub slab, the contractor relaid the Stego vapor barrier (taped to edges at perimeter).  This delay actually may have been a good thing, as the mineral wool was protected from the elements and heavy foot traffic and slab was able to be immediately poured. slab pour
The framing of the second floor and roof are nearing completion.  We are using 2×6 structural walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, all edges and corners taped and sealed.  The headers above each opening are two TJIs with Roxul mineral wool sandwiched between them – we have insulated headers!  The lead carpenter did not find it to be time consuming or of any issue, but rather thought it was pretty cool and a no-brainer.
The fireplace is a Rumford fireplace, the most efficient design in providing warmth to a space.
roof and fireplace

December 8, 2015

Hope, Joy, Cheer and the Renewal of Spirit

December is upon us and there is much to do in our annual holiday routine as we prepare for the celebrations of family, friends, co-workers and the new year to come. The message of the season is a simple one: At this light-diminished time of year, we seek to create a spiritual spark to ignite our hope for a better tomorrow in our relationships, our families and our communities. This spark can be familiar and comfortable, recreated each year as tradition. It can also be a spontaneous emotional response triggered by an article, song, image, or a call to give. It can be a memory of the past and or a vision for the future. It moves us to act, become engaged and renew our commitment to our family and community.
We anticipate showing a greater appreciation for family and friends and for the needs of the less fortunate with varying degrees of restlessness. We know the reminder that we need to take a longer view and think beyond our day-to-day routine will always bring joy and happiness to others and can reward us in return. Giving our time, talent and gifts buoys our sense of belonging to a greater whole and propels us optimistically into the new year.
AIABaltimore’s Annual Meeting and Holiday Celebration is tomorrow night at the Centre Theater on North Avenue. We will recap our very successful 2015 and transition to 2016 with collegiality, cheer and a shared commitment to a better Baltimore. Our numbers are ever increasing and we are close to reaching our goal of 1,000 professional members. Please renew your 2016 membership and Chapter support post-haste and encourage others in your office to join the stimulating work of AIABaltimore. Just as the Centre Theater has brought light and activity to decades dark North Avenue, we can bring our personal spiritual spark of renewed commitment to our personal and professional relationships.
As I complete my term as President, the pleasure of being engaged and connected to so many of our members on an almost daily basis has truly charged my spirit for our community. We are present and engaged in the current civic and professional issues across the landscape of our presence in Baltimore and Maryland. I urge you to increase your involvement in all that AIABaltimore has to offer. The pleasure of serving and the reward of making a difference cannot be denied.
Best wishes to Anthony Consoli, AIA, President 2016, as he carries our collaborative effort forward to continued success.
Hope, joy and cheer,
Rob Sig
Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIA Baltimore, 2015
Principal, brennan+company architects

November 23, 2015

int short
Our project, swell house, was just featured on Houzz in the ideabook “Decoración: Cambia los tiradores por otros de diseño más sugerente.” This translates roughly to Decoration: Change the handles for a more suggestive design.  The article details how you can refresh knobs on doors, drawers and cabinets on more personal pieces to give a unique touch to your home without breaking the bank. They featured a photo of a sliding door on a corrogated metal space with light wood floors and a dark metal number door pull from the swell house.

November 19, 2015

A bedroom from our project, regenerative nest, was featured on Houzz this week in an editorial ideabook called “What color should you paint your bedroom walls?” 
The backstory: the owners wished for their home to become a place where they could age comfortably and accommodate possible future physical limitations. In keeping with the spirit of renewal and regeneration, we introduced our clients to choices available for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, with color and material choices that reflect this soothing regenerative spirit.

October 27, 2015


Jillian Storms, AIA, shares architectural precedents during Poldi Hirsch’s time as well as the residential designs of other women architects showcased in “The Early Women of Architecture in Maryland.” Picture taken during Docomomo Tour Day of Poldi Hirsch’s works.

“Well building hath three conditions: firmness, commodity, and delight.”
Vitruvius, ca 30 BC
The message of the value of architecture to shelter and inspire is a simple one. It must be well constructed, useful and beautiful.
I attended and participated in a number of Architecture Month events this October. The Women in Architecture Committee organized a lecture and book signing with Catherine Coleman Brawer on the work of Hildreth Meiere (1892-1961). Meiere is featured in the committee’s exhibit of “Early Women of Architecture in Maryland”, displaying her stunning mosaics on a number of prominent projects. The Committee also organized a tour of the mid-century modern architecture of Poldi Hirsch in Havre de Grace on Docomomo Tour Day.
The Emerging Professionals Committee held an exhibit featuring the entries in the fourth annual “Architecture Seen” in Transit Photo Contest. These photos will anchor their annual calendar for 2016. The photos are displayed at City Hall along with the entries in the B|MORE Resilient Design Competition, a superb effort organized by our Committee on the Environment along with the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.
The AIABaltimore Design Excellence in Design Awards Celebration was held mid-month to recognize and honor the design of projects and the service of people that have contributed to a better Baltimore. This much anticipated professional and social event was held at the Lithuanian Hall in West Baltimore, a site featured during this year’s Doors Open event.
The second annual Doors Open Baltimore 2015 was held this past Saturday. Over 50 buildings and places were available to visit under the theme “Undiscovered Baltimore.” By my estimate, I would say we easily doubled attendance and quadrupled public enthusiasm year over year for this stellar event. Doors Open week began with a lecture by urban planner Daniel D’Oca, titled “The Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion.” Mr. D’Oca, currently of Harvard and formerly of MICA, has cataloged urban design moves and historical events that have shaped the urban environment’s social fabric. His intent is to raise the awareness of architects, planners, and the public on the importance of “open city” design.
The spirit of the urban built environment has been captured for centuries by the artist’s hand. The Peale Museum is currently hosting “Cityscape 2015: Contemporary Plein Air Views of the Urban Scene.” These on-location paintings depict 7 urban Mid-Atlantic cities through the artists’ eyes.
Architecture Month is our conscious effort to make the value of what we do more visible to our community. Architecture is our profession and our delight. Architecture Month is AIABaltimore’s and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s annual initiative to share our expertise, knowledge and passion for the built environment with the citizens of Baltimore. It is intended to celebrate the architecture of our place, both past and present. We hope that this concentration of events will continue to ignite the interest in the potential of architecture to improve the quality of life in Baltimore.
I would like to extend many thanks to our committees, their members and the staff of AIABaltimore for making Architecture Month so rich an experience for us.
Rob Sig
Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIA Baltimore, 2015
Principal, brennan+company architects

October 6, 2015


Architecture Month 2015: Appreciate and Celebrate

“Architecture is my delight and putting up and pulling down one of my favorite amusements.”
-Thomas Jefferson, 1809
October is Architecture Month in Baltimore. AIABaltimore and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s mission for this annual program is to raise the awareness and appreciation of the magnificent built environment of Baltimore City and surrounding counties and to celebrate the recent renovation and new construction projects by members of our Chapter.
Our awareness event is Doors Open Baltimore on Saturday, October 24. Over 50 buildings and places will be accessible to the public under the theme of “Undiscovered Baltimore.”
Our celebration event is the AIABaltimore Excellence in Design Awards Celebration on Friday, October 9. This festive annual awards gathering will be held at the historic Lithuanian Hall on Hollins Street in West Baltimore.
Accompanying these programs are other opportunities to learn about and celebrate the architecture of Baltimore. There are historic tours from Mount Vernon and Fells Point to the mid-century modern buildings of Havre de Grace. There are lectures on immigration to Baltimore and the urban design practices of exclusion and inclusion and how they can inform on open city. The calendar of these many events can be found at
Open your ical right now and plan to attend these events! We are an experiential profession. Many times we must force ourselves to get out there and see what is being talked about. Once seen and experienced, we own it and can reference it with our clients and in our work.
Come out and join us,

Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIA Baltimore, 2015
Principal, brennan+company architects

September 28, 2015

The construction for the addition and renovation to our Gunpowder project is moving along quickly. Because the under slab Roxul mineral wool was a little difficult to source and had a longer lead time, our contractor got creative and “pre-installed” the StegoWrap vapor barrier to wrap under the sill plate.  We will go back and cut out the barrier to install slab insulation, tape back in the vapor barrier and pour the slab.
vapor barrier
Framing is 2×6 walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, fully taped to provide our primary air barrier.  We are then installing 1-1/2″ of Roxul mineral wool, Tyvek and then furring strips.  This has been a terrific learning experience as we work with the contractor and project lead to find economical, smart ways to create a foam-free, well-sealed healthy envelope.
mineral wool on walls

September 18, 2015

So thrilled that our team received the award for “Most Resilient Concept” at the bMORE Resilient Competition Reception last night!
Team: Carri Beer, Lili Mundroff, Michael Hindle, Jack Sullivan, Peter I. May Ph.D., Adam Ganser, and Katelin Posthuma.
bMORE_most resilient concept_small