November President’s Letter: Architecture Month Retold

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