fully developed, there will be 140 years of school
architecture on this campus. While preserving the
heritage of each piece, the whole must be integrated,
function well, and meet 21st century requirements.
development of this campus is proceeding through
several stages. The
attitude embedded in this process is to build and
maintain for the long term. These are not seen as
buildings of small value to be used and then discarded.
The idea is to make them, first usable (Phase I),
then provide a modern infrastructure throughout
campus (Phase II), add carefully selected functionality
(Phase III) and then maintain and upgrade. continuously.
applying a systematic, long term, process.
goal is to create a compact - four acres - environment
of study, learning, collaboration and community
engagement - all key aspects of the Sojourner
Douglass vision and mission.
intention leads to certain architectural problems
and opportunities. Already on the site are three
existing buildings each of a different era and
character. It is Phase III, that the major new
construction will take place. It is the task of
this Phase not
only to greatly extend functionality but to provide
the integrating force that brings the whole into
is also the goal to provide far more amenity than
buildings of this type usually render. Utilitarianism
is rejected by this approach. It is believed that
an environment of beauty and grace is a positive
aspect of true learning and that the artifact of
the built environment is an accurate reflection
of the values and abilities of those who build
and use it.
this regard, the act of building is not separated
from the process of using; nor, is it unrelated
to the development of the institution as a community-of-practice.
means “to lead out.” It is the creative
process aimed at the development of the human. Architecture
facilitates and symbolizes the human - it is not
merely the act of keeping out the rain; it is the
act of expressing the soul while keeping it dry.
society that does not know it’s origins and
history has no future. Architecture that does not
and develop it’s past, as it simultaneously
forges new perceptions of the possible, has no
How each piece
of this campus is kept individual and made one is
an act of philosophy, a task of design; and, the
artful exercise of economics.
great theme of our present era is the dematerializing
of thing-ness. Knowledge - the great value add
- is becoming ubiquitous and transparent. Relationships
changing their form. It will not be globalization
versus local communities, it will be the weaving
of many ValueWebs, each distinct, each spanning
a globe, each a specific fit for a community of
individuals. The heavy hand of 20th Century organizations
will give way to networks of people and resources
based on mutual values, respect and gain. Technology
also will cease to impose itself on life but will
the silent and transparent human augmentation tool
it is meant to be. Out of the shadow of the industrial
era, a new organic way of living and working will
exiting structures are built of brick and heavily
massed forms. The 1869 and 1923 buildings are beautifully
detailed and reflect an attitude about the social
value of education that is, unfortunately, long
gone. The 1969 building, while well built, expresses
the late 20th Century values of conformity and
mass one-size-fits -all solutions. It is this building
that will be modified the most with the addition
of a lightweight, transparent third story structure
that terminates with the Restaurant presenting
a new face to the
old construction is rooted in the past and
expresses those traditional values that are always
worth keeping: solidness, being anchored - the
tradition of hand craft. The new will show the
of design technique and advanced materials. It
will build on the past; it will soar, connect
everything and aspire; it does not protect by force
- it is the reality of reciprocation.
buildings most often keep nature out. They isolate
in the name of practicality. This is a false utility.
The acreage of this campus will become a garden;
the building will embrace a renewed urban landscape.
Density of use and nature will be made harmonious.
Natural light will be brought into this place of
innovation and collaboration; an elevated view
of the city-as-prospect will be provided.
existing buildings built for one purpose, now gone,
and poorly adapted over the years, will be restored
to a new life; the new constructs will be adaptable
and multi-purpose - they will extend the functionality
of the old.
campus will support true economy - not a sunk-cost
budget mentality. The buildings will pay back in
human and financial terms for another century.
SDC Campus is located in an area of Baltimore that
has long been economically marginal. 15 blocks
to the South is the renewed downtown and marina
areas. Directly on the North is the Johns Hopkins
campus which is undergoing a multiple block expansion.
deep ties to the local community. The development
process of this campus constitutes a new model
for renewing the urban environment. The campus
will promote and support community development.
It will exemplify what it teaches. This is an essential
architecture has to express identity, unity, security
and openness; and inclusiveness.
Orleans Street side - the new campus “front” -
houses the public functions of the college: Fine
Arts Center, Restaurant, Entries to the Conference
Center and Residency. This is SDC’s presence
to the community. Through this portal, controlled
access is provided to the Administrative Offices,
Academic facilities, Collaborative spaces, Student
Union, Gymnasium, Book Store and other support
is a layered approach to open access and gated
security. Because of the immediate environment
and traffic, much of the SDC spaces are enclosed.
North and South Court Yards are examples of contained
areas that open up interior spaces that now have
no outside sensibility. Buildings should shelter
not encase life in artificial light and hard surfaces.
The new West and North Entries are tall and wide
glass green-house-like cubes that allow planting
and make a transition space between outside and
inside. The are the ritual of entering and exit
- a ceremony and preparation for what is to come.
eliminates the insignificant and focuses on a
viewpoint that delivers a new perception - a new
way of sensing reality. Architecture becomes art
when it makes a context that elevates the mundane
to the level of the sacred - when a new reality
is actually created. Everything is different in
this state of mind. Every act takes on significance
- meaning is created by this embedding of philosophy
into everyday life.
landscapes tend to violate human scale. When fully
developed, this campus will contain nearly 200,000
square feet of usable space on a few acres of land.
The key is how enclosure, prospect, refuge, intimacy,
density, privacy and engagement are handled. Most
buildings allow you only to be in them - and, to
see them from the outside. There is rarely any
interface. The SDC Campus provides a wide variety
of different experiences. These are buildings you
can be on as well as in. The transitions are subtitle
and modulated. The landscape flow in, on and out
of the structures softening their hard edges. Light
moves through the spaces and there is natural shade
and shadow reflecting the movement of the day.
At night, many areas of the buildings are lighted
from the outside creating both a sense of security
and the prospect of endless space.
is created in niches - it engages in large spaces.
Modern architecture has forgotten this and neglects
the deep patterns of human existence. This is why
it is perceived as cold, unforgiving and removed.
Architecture has become a visual art when in reality
it is an experiential art. If you don’t want to
touch a building it has failed you. If you do not
want to take intimate care of it, you have failed
it and reciprocity is lost. The building becomes
a dead thing and your life loses a measure of meaning.
A comfortable environment cannot be made up of
only formal functional dedicated spaces - this
leaves no room for something new and unexpected
you cannot explore your environment much of the
wonder of life is lost. Lose wonder and life slowly
dies by a thousand small cuts until there is nothing
left but habit.
building does not stand in isolation. It is the
result of human values and it expresses them. It
does facilitate and shelter life. It also receives
energy by the way that people work, play and live
is based on a way of life - a sense of life and,
in the case of this work, a way of working, learning
and building community. The Program of SDC
is a critical component of this design -
not a isolated process that has no impact
on how the architecture is created, perceived
means that how this work is built is as critical
as another other aspect. It will not be realized
by contractors in it for the money - it will brought
to life by Cathedral Builders who build as a passion
and as a consequence earn their livelihood. This
must be a thought-built experience; the act of
creating art; the way to self and community expression.