A seating area carved out of a former brewing tank.
A glassed-in ground floor space provides additional seating.
The dramatically restored American Brewery Building.
A conference area in the restored building.

Applause – A Baltimore Icon

MARCH/APRIL 2010

A walk through the changing neighborhood of East Baltimore affords visitors a glimpse of history in the dramatically restored American Brewery Building. Part of the National Registry of Historic Places, this five-story Victorian began life in 1887 and functioned as a brewery until 1973 when it nose-dived into disrepair.

In 2004, Humanim—a non-profit organization providing services to low-income individuals with disabilities—bought the space and hired Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc., to restore it to its original glory and “to uplift the neighborhood,” as project manager Anath Ranon explains it.

The architects retained the original, elegant façade, utilizing features of the brewery—the grain chute is now a lobby—as well as the original brick, wood and steel to create a welcoming, modern office building. The project won the 2009 AIA Maryland award for Public Building of the Year. “It’s not your typical office space,” Ranon says. “It’s a presence in the community.”

RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE: George Holback, AIA, principal in charge; Anath Ranon, AIA, project manager; Ann Powell, AIA, project architect; Allison McElheny, designer, Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc., Baltimore, MD. DEVELOPER: Gotham Development, Washington, DC. CONTRACTOR: Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, Baltimore, MD.

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