Goucher College Athenaeum


Baltimore, USA




6,500 m²





In need of a signature building to serve as both a physical centrepiece for its campus and the figurative heart of its academic community, the Athenaeum gives Goucher College the space it needs to combine the energies, talents and traditions of its campus and community in one single, central location.

The design and detailing of the Athenaeum was inspired by the modernist, crafted aesthetic for which the Goucher campus is increasingly well-known. The exterior includes elements of glass, stone, wood and copper—the predominant materials found in Goucher’s buildings. The product of an eight-month strategic masterplanning effort with RMJM in 2001, the Athenaeum is anchored by a new, technologically superior library. Outside the library’s doors, the spacious open forum serves as a focal point for performance, public discussion and other events. Adjoining these central elements is a café, art gallery, college radio station and centre for the college’s community service and multicultural affairs programming, as well as space for exercise, conversation and quiet reflection and relaxation.

The new library expands the college’s collection capacity by about 50,000 volumes (for a total of approximately 350,000) and is fully wired with state-of-the-art technology.

Just outside the library, the “Forum”—modeled after the amphitheaters of Europe—is a wide-open space whose character will change from day-to-day, even hour-by-hour. The lower level features a stage that can be configured to accommodate various kinds of readings, performances, panel discussions and other public events. A giant video screen serves as the backdrop.

The Athenaeum achieved a LEED Gold certification and incorporates a number of sustainable design features including green roofs, a rain garden, high-performance glass, recycled materials, and mechanical systems of optimal efficiency. The project was awarded the 2009 Special Accomplishment Award from the Maryland Chapter of the US Green Building Council.


2009: USGBC Maryland Chapter, 2009 Special Accomplishment Award