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ICRI 2014 Project Award Winner
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Award of Sustainability

Baltimore Design School
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Baltimore, Maryland

Submitted by Sika Corporation

Baltimore Design School

Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore, MD

Project Engineer/

Ziger/Snead LLP Architects
Baltimore, MD

Material Supplier/

Sika Corporation
Lyndhurst, NJ 

Repair Contractors
Southway Builders, Inc.
Baltimore, MD

Michael J. Young Concrete
Stewartstown, PA

ProDec Finishes, Inc.
Timonium, MD

Eastern Waterproofing & Restoration
Jessup, MD

A decrepit 100-year-old building, abandoned for the last 25 years in a depressed inner-city neighborhood, has been preserved with the application of modern sustainability concepts and concrete repair technologies. 

The building was constructed in 1914. The four-story structure was the machine shop for a global supplier of bottle caps before housing a clothing manufacturer. Constructed of reinforced concrete, the building was the first in Baltimore to use a beamless floor system, also known as flat-slab construction, which does not require structural beams to span between columns.

In the 1980s, the structure became a victim of the decline of the manufacturing industry—replicating the overall national trend—and was sealed and abandoned. After a quarter-century, circumstances presented themselves for the revival of the structure for a completely different use. It was selected to be the site of the Baltimore Design School, a first of its kind combined public middle and high school dedicated to students interested in architecture, graphic design, and fashion. 

Following completion of the condition assessment, an extensive and multifaceted approach was required to meet the complex repair challenges induced by decades of neglect. All major methods of concrete repair were incorporated into the overall strategy, including hand- and machine-applied, form-and-pour, and form-and-pump techniques. Supplemental reinforcement was used to restore slabs to safe load-bearing capacity. Carbon-fiber plates were installed for strengthening. A penetrating surface-applied corrosion inhibitor was sprayed to the underside of the roof slab, exterior surfaces, and interior areas adjacent to the exterior. Finally, a clear, breathable, anti-carbonation coating was installed to halt the carbonation process, seal in the dust, and preserve the historic appearance.

The Baltimore Design School is providing the best for the people and environment of the local community by revitalizing the neighborhood and educating the students. 

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