For more than a century, Annapolis’ Eastport waterfront was filled with watermen, oyster packing plants, boatyards and boatwrights. When a large lot previously used as a boatyard and housing in one corner an historic building once known as the Glass Factory became available, zoning constraints dictated that new building occupants be engaged in maritime endeavors, and the principals of Dome Chartering and Trading Corporation, an international maritime services company specializing in cargo transport and logistics, seized the opportunity to create a distinctive new corporate headquarters building. Regard for the past compelled a design that preserved and respected the tiny turn-of-the-century Glass Factory structure and its place in the neighborhood.
The new building’s exterior recalls the working maritime character of Eastport. Entry details evoke a maritime heritage: low-pitched metal roof; heavy wood brackets; balconies that feel part-gangplank, part-scaffolding; planters made of steel plates are filled with lush native species. The building’s simple rhythm recalls the scale and character of Eastport’s traditional boatsheds. A sloping site created the opportunity for covered ground level parking.
Ship-like detailing sets a maritime tone in Dome Chartering’s second floor lobby and reception; visible structural and mechanical system components throughout the space are suggestive of the cargo ships at the heart of the firm’s identity. Interior and exterior balconies create a feeling of expansiveness and connection between indoors and outdoors. Very different from Dome Chartering’s expansive open plan spaces, on the first floor, the Living Oceans Foundation opted to create predominantly private offices, with extensive use of glass walls creating both privacy and a sense of openness; sliding glass wall panels can enclose both the conference room and the large, flexible-use multi-purpose room leading into it, accommodating the organization’s frequent classroom-like needs.
The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the 11,500 square foot building LEED Silver certification.
photos: ©Lisa Masson Studio