Baltimore Unity Hall Honored With Two AIA Baltimore Excellence in Design Awards

November 2, 2023

Baltimore Unity Hall is Honored With Two Excellence in Design Awards from the American Institute of Architects Baltimore for 2023

This year Somerset Development’s Baltimore Unity Hall was honored with two Excellence in Design Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Baltimore, awarded to Ziger|Snead in an awards ceremony held at the Baltimore Design School on October 20, 2023. Ziger|Snead received the Excellence in Design Awards for Social Equity and for Good Design = Good Business Honorable Mention.

The Social Equity award recognizes community-driven projects that advance the health, social justice, environmental sustainability, and the true character of a place by creating design that honors the people who live, work, worship and do business there.

With design moves respectful of its context and neighbors, Baltimore Unity Hall features a transformative exterior renovation. On the inside, this project presents a nice mix of areas representing the multi-functionality of the building, with interesting public gathering spaces and also office space occupied by anchor non-profit organizations. Located in an area of historic tension, this building has a high potential to become an important neighborhood hub. The jury was impressed by the diversity of consultants in the design process.

The Good Design = Good Business Honorable Mention Award honors architects and clients who best utilize good design to help companies and organizations achieve their goals. This award recognizes projects where design excellence elevated project outcomes to benefit the business, institution, or community which it serves, and awards exceptional collaboration.

Designed to provide office space for community-based non-profits, exhibition space for local artists, and meeting spaces for organizations, Baltimore Unity Hall is a community anchor. Jurors appreciated this vital mixed-use functionality that invites community participation and ownership. Aesthetically, jurors also commended the flow of materials and finishes both inside and out for the bold, eye-catching color palette that symbolizes the vibrancy and vitality of this redesigned space and its Central West Baltimore neighborhood.

Baltimore Unity Hall opened in June of 2022 in West Baltimore as a hub for job training, education and the arts. In a $10 million renovation project, a 1960s-era union hall was converted into a state-of-the-art 30,000-square-foot venue serving Bolton Hill, Madison Park, Upton and other Central West Baltimore communities. Unity Hall provides office, work, and event spaces at below-market rents for co-working, workforce development, non-profit and community organizations, community meetings, artist studios, art exhibits, music performances and other events.