'What was this building before?' is a question commonly overheard by residents and guests of Union Wharf, a luxury multifamily apartment building set within the historic Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore. The building, though completely new construction completed in mid-2013, reflects the rich industrial history of its site with a focus on the architectonic. Thoughtful selections of traditionally industrial and architectural materials, which will wear over time, are layered to form unique spaces on the interior. A palette of salvaged wood from a local horse stable, hot-rolled steel, concrete, and brick give the space the timelessness the design team sought. This is also reflected in the selection of custom lighting and furniture, which are influenced by industrial, mid-century modern, and contemporary designs. Even the fabrics and leathers adorning furniture pieces will continue to wear, adding to the dynamic and 'well-lived in' nature of the space.
The site's location along the waterfront also generated a second major design concept: view and connectivity. Seamless indoor/outdoor spaces and visual connections to the surrounding context were paramount in the design of the amenity areas. A Nanawall system was used in order to effortlessly open the Club Room to the pool courtyard. The building's amenity spaces are pointedly focused along a major axis running the length of the building to capitalize on the surrounding waterfront setting. This starts at the entry, leading down a corridor lined with storefront systems, and terminates in a large opening that frames a view to the historic Baltimore Harbor. Layered transparency in the form of glazing, open screens made from reclaimed wood, and layered ceiling planes help to define the spaces. The openness of the public area also allows for natural light to permeate throughout the building while creating a visual connection to the surrounding context.