Behnisch Architekten, in collaboration with Ayers Saint Gross, completed the John and Frances Angelos Law Center for the University of Baltimore this past April. The structure began construction in 2009 after the firm, which was developed under the leadership of Günter Behnisch's son Stefan, won first place in the university's international design competition back in 2008.
Since its completion, the new Law Center received awards from the US Green Building Council Maryland and the Building Congress & Exchange of Metropolitan Baltimore. Additionally, it was shortlisted for the international World Architecture Festival and recognized by the high-profile Energy Performance + Architecture Award from France this year. The building will also be presented at the upcoming SCUP 48th Annual International Conference.
Aside from its eye-catching exterior, the 192,000 sq.ft. (17,837 m²) structure at the urban center of Baltimore is full of revolutionary features—like its sustainable technology and its numerous state-of-the-art educational facilities—as described in the official press release below.
"The result of an international design competition championed by the President of the University of Baltimore, President Robert L. Bogomolny, the new home of the School of Law unites classrooms, faculty offices, administrative space, and the law library under a single roof for the first time in the history of the University. The building, located at the prominent intersection of Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street, functionally & symbolically defines the Law School as an academic & social nexus, offering state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities while fostering an interactive, communicative environment for collaboration between students, faculty, and administrators.
With the proximity of the site to Baltimore’s principal train station, Penn Station; at the terminus of one of Baltimore’s great urban thoroughfares; and immediately adjacent to the Jones Falls Expressway, this building also creates an important and highly visible threshold to the campus and the City, and demonstrates the commitment of the University of Baltimore to the on-going renewal and development of the city..."
"...The building form consists of three interlocking L-shaped volumes which articulate the functions of the building program – classrooms and offices, the legal clinic, and the law library – and define a narrow atrium, a "green stalk" rising up through the heart of the building and connecting the three volumes. In addition to its function as the connective tissue between program spaces, the atrium also captures the lobby, two coffee bars (forum level and Level 6) and informal work and meeting spaces..."
"...The atrium is critical to both the technical performance of the building as well as to furthering the social and pedagogical goals of the Law School. It works with generous exterior and interior wall glazing in conjunction with shallow floor plates to maximize daylight autonomy, and visual access to daylight for interior work spaces, while simultaneously providing a transparent and communicative interior, visually linking public space, teaching space, and administrative space in an open and inspiring environment.
Due to varied requirements for floor-to-floor heights of the various program elements, and in order to provide appropriate ceiling heights in each of the space types, the floor slabs in each of the volumes are staggered vertically over the height of the building..."
"..The two sides of the atrium are connected with a series of stairs and ramps that allow people to walk leisurely between floors of the building, interact informally with their colleagues and fellow students, and view the various activities of the law school that line the space. Glazed office partitions transmit daylight entering the exterior wall through the office and into interior corridors and shared space, reducing the artificial lighting demand. Glazed classroom partitions create visual continuity between teaching spaces and public areas and animate the atrium with the scholastic life of the school. The School of Law Library, pictured below, occupies portions of floors 6-12 of the building..."
Glazed office partitions transmit daylight entering the exterior wall through the office and into interior corridors and shared space, reducing the artificial lighting demand. Glazed classroom partitions create visual continuity between teaching spaces and public areas and animate the atrium with the scholastic life of the school. The School of Law Library, pictured below, occupies portions of floors 6-12 of the building..."
"...The John and Frances Angelos Law Center is the first large-scale opportunity for the University to demonstrate its intent to pursue strategies that reduce global warming emissions and begin to approach climate neutrality consistent with the American College & University President's Climate Commitment. Anticipated to achieve LEED Platinum status, the building utilizes a number of closely-integrated strategies to achieve a 43% energy cost savings over an ASHRAE 90.1-2004 baseline building, with an annual site energy use intensity of 40 kBtu/sf (approximately 125 kWh/m² annually).
These strategies include the use of LED lighting throughout, green roofs which capture rain water, and a structurally-integrated heating and cooling system coupled with a hybrid ventilation system."
More images of the project are featured below.