Department of Public Works Office Building & Garage Renovation, Baltimore, MD
Mimar’s task is to research extensively all variables and issues that bear upon the Client’s goal to redevelop the site for a new headquarters office for DPW.
Mimar developed a detailed spatial program for the City’s spoken and unspoken needs, studied the immediate urban context with a 10 block radius, examined the micro commercial office market in the district, took into account the emerging office/work trends triggered by the pandemic, the share-economy for office, transportation, explore different development pathways and building design options and conceive several different solution architecture with an office occupancy that ranges from 115k SF (housing only the client) to 250k SF (with excess rental space for the market) with an associated parking garage housing from a low 100-count to a high 500-count vehicles. Due to flood plain restraints, the garage cannot be underground but must be above grade, forming a multi-level base to the office building above which then requires proper shielding from view at pedestrian level to maintain civil street frontage in downtown Baltimore within the government district. The design team explored in great depth the challenge of integrating parking garage design, with inherent dimensional constraints for passenger vehicles, the structural bay efficiency but with implications for office occupancy above, inbound, and outbound traffic flow due to the one-way streets surrounding the site, impact of queuing at entry that must not spill out into the city streets. Among the numerous schemes (4 distinct categories and 14 total in number), we offered the city an option for a much more sustainable "universal structure" so that when the need for parking changes in the future when the shared economy (the likes of ZipCar, Uber, Lyft) and autonomous vehicles transform car ownership such that cities, public agencies, and the private building developers must carefully weigh the long-term life cycle of the parking garages they seek to build today.