Bonstra | Haresign Architects (architect)
2017 ASLA Potomac Merit Award for Design
2014 AIA DC UNBUILT Washington Merit Award
The LAB team in collaboration with Bonstra | Haresign, worked to design an integrated building and landscape solution for a mixed-use development situated in the post-industrial landscape of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The team’s competition entry balanced the site’s programmatic needs with an elevated park-like landscape that provides a unique building amenity and city-scale ecological contribution. LAB’s approach for the landscape design was to harness the power of the inner harbor’s displaced wetlands and recreate these ecological workhorses on an elevated slab that covers the building’s below-grade parking. A comprehensive strategy for rainwater harvest and dispersal across the site further enhances the project’s focus on creating a symbiotic relationship between landscape and building.
LAB’s design showcases an abstracted wetland landscape that mimics the ecological function of the former inner harbor wetlands lost long ago to development. The main outdoor space, on the roof of the parking garage, features a faceted ground plane in which wetlands are intermixed with pyramidal mounds, and crisscrossing pathways combine with elevated boardwalks to create opportunities for observation of the working landscape and views of the city beyond. The dominant forms created throughout the landscape are intentionally angular and work to define an aesthetic that is distinctly constructed.
The building and the landscape are further tied together through integrated gray water treatment and stormwater capture systems. Harvested rainwater is used for irrigation of wetland planting during direr summer months and as a water source for water feature and pool elements in the lower-level grotto. The use (and reuse) of water defines each space throughout the site and is central to the project’s identity. As one looks out from the overlook surrounded by uniquely constructed wetlands, the harbor and the city of Baltimore provide an important reminder of how much this landscape has changed since its inception.