Mike Glaros, our Baltimore office practice leader, recently sat down with AIA Baltimore for a Q+A interview that covered his goals for the office, exciting upcoming projects and design ideas for Baltimore. Mike assumed the role of office leader earlier this fall and has been focused on fostering new community relationships, mentoring employees and forging new client partnerships across health, education and science in and around Baltimore ever since. Below are key excerpts from Mike’s interview with AIA Baltimore and the full piece can be read online.
On interesting project the Baltimore team is currently working on
I’m very fortunate in that I lead an office connected to local projects that are also some of the most exciting in the country. A few that really stand out to me:
- We’re helping the University of Maryland convert its historic Cole Fieldhouse basketball arena into a new football practice facility adjacent to the campus stadium in College Park, MD. The new football facility is leading edge for Division 1 and Big 10 Athletics and has connected us with Under Armour’s dynamic team. Equally exciting, this project combines elements of sport, health, science, wellness and entrepreneurial education in the same building, pushing boundaries on human performance and research.
- The VCU Medical Center’s new Virginia Treatment Center for Children is set to open soon and will be one of the largest freestanding children’s mental health centers in the U.S. once it is completed. The center will provide treatment for some of the 70,000 children in Virginia in need of such care. The project is visionary in the way it approaches treatment, helps eliminate stigmas for patients and is strategically integrated into the Richmond, VA community.
On how technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are changing design
Emerging technologies like VR, AR and computational design offer great potential for designers and our clients to create a better built environment. The key pieces right now are helping the design community maximize this potential and also educating clients on how it can strengthen the design experience.
We have a number of exceptional younger staff in our office focused on growing our digital practice and this creates exciting leadership opportunities for them. They’ve helped create amazing digital experiences for our clients like Sheppard Pratt through which we can have better engagement, dialogue and ultimately – a stronger final product as challenges are realized and opportunities seized earlier in a project’s life. We’re not using it just to look at grand architecture, but more for us to work on functionally driven treatment spaces with clinicians to make sure those spaces are meeting their needs.
On how Baltimore could better leverage design for a brighter future
The most exciting opportunity to forge a new identity for Baltimore is the school revitalization program currently underway. These new schools have the potential to enrich communities in numerous ways, from the incorporation of programming focused on community needs to the creation of a positive school environment that welcomes visitors and enriches the lives of students. Designing 21st century learning environments can help Baltimore’s teachers lead our children to success at school and become college and career ready. This is the greatest opportunity to recharge our city’s future. By ensuring our students are learning in buildings that promote safety, wellness, access to natural light and fresh air we can do a lot to transform our communities and our city.