july 2015 AIABaltimore President's Message

June 25, 2015

View of Mount Vernon Place c.1858-1890, Source:  Chase, W. M. (William M.), 1818/9-1905 — Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Anticipation, vacation planning, baseball on the radio, Memorial day, June 1st, honeysuckle, Flag Day, last day of school, the longest day. The joy of Summer, time off and a break from routine is what we have remembered since childhood and continue to channel into our adult lives.
For many of us, it is a time for reflection, recalibration, reinvigoration.  We seek to read, recreate and travel to improve our personal sense of well being. The break is also a time for family reconnection and an important marker of time passing.  The all important family trips create those memories and stories that will carry far into the future.
Across this spectrum of events personal and communal, the Place stands forward. We choose destinations based on the spirit of that place at that moment in our lives. We seek the comfort and majesty of nature, the bustle and excitement of the urban environment or the adventure and culture of new continents. The landscape and architecture of these places create the stage on which our collective memories form.
The architecture of place and time informs our personal lives and professional careers. As architects, urbanists and environmentalists, we are best positioned to recognize the importance of place to community well-being and future identity. We must continue to seek a collaborative, inclusive design process for larger community projects in the public realm. It is critical to the spirit of that place that it reflects that moment in time while envisioning what can be.
We lament the seemingly inevitable sameness of design that is occurring across the country.  We look to the historic buildings and neighborhoods of a city, town or vacation spot for the connection that we seek as we travel.  We crave the joy and anticipation of discovery and place.  That sense of place is strong in Baltimore.
Baltimore has benefited from its geographic location, transportation connections and age and quality of its residential, commercial and community structures. A civic pride of place has driven past investment for the public good.  We must continue to build on the success of the enormous expenditure of civic time,treasure and talent over the past 250 years. Let us respect the history of Baltimore, west,east, north and downtown, as we design the community forward.
Baltimore’s strong sense of place is a great asset to be valued and nurtured.  Support our design community’s efforts to envision a Baltimore story.  As others visit Baltimore this summer, may they feel the joy in discovery that we experienced when we first drove up Charles Street, rumbled into Fells Point or sat in the Adirondack chairs at Tide Point.
As you travel to both familiar or unfamiliar locations this summer, appreciate the qualities that brought you back or the differences that bring you joy and share it with family and friends.
Here comes Summer!

Rob Brennan, AIA
President, AIABaltimore