The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff House was constructed originally as the Hospital for the Women of Maryland, one of the first hospitals focused exclusively on the medical needs of women. By the early 1990s, it stood empty. The largest structure in the center of Baltimore’s historic Bolton Hill neighborhood, this once-grand building with a rich history had become ASSOCIATED FIRMD.R. Brasher, Architect for RenovationCOST PER SQ FT$119.51CITATIONSpecial CitationFEATURED IN2003 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation eyesore. It was acquired by Maryland Institute College of Art in 2000, which worked closely with the neighborhood to maintain the building’s historic character and charm while updating it for use as a 202-bed apartment residence hall and center of student activities for the college’s unique, eclectic urban campus.
The goal of the renovation was to provide an innovative floor layout within existing space, and to create comfortable and intimate spaces for student artists. Students themselves were part of the planning process, specifying that they preferred to have more space in their bedrooms—which serve dual purposes as living and studio space—and less in the common living areas of apartments. All bedrooms would be single occupancy, with apartments housing two, three or four students who share a common bathroom and a spacious maple kitchen.
One challenge: no two rooms were alike, as the renovation retained the structure’s historic character. With the goal of “no cookie-cutter rooms,” the designers focused on creating a living environment to accommodate the students’ needs. Individual bedrooms were designed to allow the occupants maximum flexibility in configuring their space. The bedrooms have either a loft bed system or a Murphy bed unit with built-in storage. All rooms have vinyl wood plank flooring to create a warm, contemporary atmosphere in keeping with the building’s architecture.
The ground floor houses student apartments, student activities and residence-life staff offices, a reception and waiting area, dining and lounge areas, a cafeteria servery and kitchen. An addition into an existing interior courtyard expanded dining space and opens onto a landscape courtyard. The designer created curves, zigzags and pinwheels on the flooring, combining traditional maple and cherry-wood planks with modern copperplate metallics to echo the building’s successful pairing of traditional and contemporary elements.
The result is a dining area that serves as the “living room” for a campus that was established in 1905 and added its first student living spaces only in 1991. In the lounge area, students check e-mail or do work at a bank of computers while eating lunch. A private dining area provides a space for meetings of student organizations and informal gatherings of students and faculty.
The servery layout picked up on the inviting curves of other design elements, using natural woods and metal, as well as granite countertops.
"Considering the existing conditions and the price, renovation is spectacular!"—2003 jury