Gensler Answers the Call for Safe and Stylish Outdoor Dining in Baltimore
2021 Best of Year winner for Outdoor Dining
Small businesses were among the hardest hit when COVID-19 forced social distancing and limited indoor activity. To crowdsource solutions for how to keep these doors open when they couldn’t welcome guests in, the City of Baltimore, Neighborhood Design Center, Baltimore Development Corporation, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health co-sponsored the Design for Distancing challenge, turning to the A&D and public-health sectors to develop creative solutions for bolstering businesses before temporary closures became permanent ones.
Gensler’s contribution saw 20 volunteers from its Baltimore office spend 630 hours transforming the 1700 Block of Charles Street and North Avenue in a way that leans into the Station North Arts District’s creative ethos. Wooden planters shield a blue-painted parking lane dotted with distanced seating pods for restaurant patrons; vivid umbrellas protect them from the elements and polycarbonate dividers from their neighbors. Bright circles on a parking-lot blacktop mark zones where households can come to safely enjoy outdoor movies with other patrons. Commissioned murals by local artist Becky Borlan coat roll-up doors, activating the streetscape. Together, the design team’s interventions are helping to provide the city with an economic lifeline.
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Best of Year Awards 2021
Interior Design celebrates design in all its forms with the 2021 Best of Year Awards. See the winner’s gallery here.