Public Building of the Year ─ Urban Design & Master Planning
Project: Coppin Quad and Café
Location: Baltimore, MD
Architect: Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc.
Owner/Developer: Coppin State University / Sam Patterson, Director of Capital Planning
Contractor: Broughton Construction Company / Cheri Vincent, Project Coordinator
Photographer: Patrick Ross
A stark brick plaza located between the Library, an academic/classroom building, and the blank rear wall of the student center is elegantly transformed into the center of a re-imagined campus. A thin, simple, and elegant café, added to the rear of the student center, re-orients the north side of the building to form the edge of the new quadrangle. Grade changes are accommodated at the library edge with steps that can double as a theatrical space. Paved walkways ring the central green forming a skewed perimeter that re-aligns the academic building with the new café at the student center. Monolithic benches breach the perimeter of the green and provide both rhythm and scale to the larger space. A circumferential pool with small jets reinforces the figural quality of the central space. Grass and gravel reduce runoff and roof water is captured in an underground cistern and re-used to irrigate the figural space of the grass. Together, these diverse elements of building and landscape combine to form a new public campus center, inserted in what had been a leftover space. The jury recognizes this project as exemplary of the transformative power of architecture to improve the lives of those it touches.