Maryland Institute College of Art, The Commons

Baltimore, Maryland

Landscape Architecture category

The Maryland Institute College of Art was a scattered urban campus with no student housing and no cohesive core. The Commons provides housing for approximately 400 students; provides secure open space for large and small gatherings; organizes pedestrian circulation; provides parking; and responds to the concerns of an adjacent ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYLandscape neighborhood. Designers also created a place that would provide a spiritual core for the school—a place students could identify as their own.

The main lawn, linking four buildings and a series of courtyards, provides a front door for the buildings, a campus quad, and relief from the surrounding urban character. For the highly creative student population, this space serves as a framework that can accommodate various uses, such as temporary art installations. The smaller courtyards provide spaces that can be used for occasional formal events, as well as outdoor living space for students in the adjacent dormitory.

The success of the Commons is clear from the way students have embraced their living quarters and the comfortable way the complex fits into this distinctive neighborhood.

Photographer: ©Heather Faucher