The renovation of an empty surplus Archdiocese school building in Baltimore’s historic Federal Hill neighborhood provided a 26,000 SF home for St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, an 11-month school. The design challenge was to transform a 100 year old school building mired in outdated teaching techniques into an active, engaging, 21st century learning environment for underserved middle school boys from at-risk neighborhoods.
New and old intertwine side-by-side throughout the design. Highly efficient systems, a new elevator for ADA accessibility and various technologies were all methodically woven into the existing building structure. While some walls were removed to provide views and strengthen connections, historically significant volumes and artifacts were celebrated and off-set against modern insertions to express to students and visitors the sustainability and value in repurposing Baltimore’s urban fabric.
Existing entrance was opened up to create a space that provides a sense of arrival, visual security, ADA access as well as a gathering space for students to socialize or assemble before field trips, sporting events or while waiting for parents or public transportation.
Outside view shows the historic (and current) entry.
Students recognize and translate the impact of the new learning environment into
improved behaviors, along with better focus and determination to succeed.
John Ciccone, President
Classrooms were renovated to 21st century learning environments with technology, efficient mechanical systems, proper acoustics and lighting, and flexible, thoughtfully selected furniture that can be easily rearranged from lecture style to small or large group team-based learning.
"Before" view shows state-of-the-art for a mid-20th century classroom.
Corridors are designed as interactive social spaces, where different grades can come together and display current projects and achievements; they also provide students easy access to the Vice Principal and Counselors' offices.
Students were involved during the design and the construction process was seen as a “hands-on” learning opportunity.
Despite a limited budget, sustainable practices were used throughout the project, from high efficiency mechanical systems, lighting and plumbing fixtures, to a green roof with planters for student gardens.