Philosophy: Most guides to the urban fabric of our cities emphasize architectural interpretations of the structures that form the urban environment. This is in some ways understandable; much of the urban fabric comprises buildings, and the outward form of most buildings is primarily the work of architects. A purely architectural interpretation of cities misses an entire class of structures, namely bridges, whose outward appearance is primarily the result of the creativity of a structural engineer. Furthermore, even the examination of buildings is significantly deepened by an understanding of the methods used to support the architectural vision. In some rare instances, Fazlur Khan's skyscrapers, for example, this supporting system is itself the visible form of the building.
Practicalities: This guide is a partial effort at augmenting current guides to the City of Baltimore with interpretations of the structural engineering of the city. Many bridges are represented that are significant but missed in the architectural guides, and other buildings and bridges are interpreted as works of structure rather than architecture. At a more basic level, this guide provides a large number of images, as well as directions and maps, that should prove useful to students and those interested in the urban environment of Baltimore.
About: The development of this guide was supported during the 2004-2005 Johns Hopkins academic year by the Center for Educational Resourcesthrough their Technology Fellow program. Rachel Sangree, then a graduate student in Civil Engineering, was the Fellow, and she was advised by Sanjay R. Arwade and Benjamin W. Schafer, both Professors of Civil Engineering. The inspiration for the guide came from the course Perspectives on the Evolution of Structures, taught by Professors Arwade and Schafer. Special thanks to Robert M. Vogel, Curator Emeritus of Mechanical & Civil Engineering, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution who provided several corrections, particularly with regard to the fine works of Wendel Bollman. In the summer of 2008 the guide was augmented with additional images and navigation tools by Matt Sisinni, then a rising Sophomore in Civil Engineering.
Photo credits: Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs are taken by either Rachel Sangree or Matt Sisinni and may be used for non-commercial purposes provided the photographer is properly credited.
You can browse the guide alphabetically or by a map of the whole city.