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Originally constructed in the 1890’s, the historic Assembly building formed an important component of the Poole & Hunt Machine Works, which for a time was the largest fabricator of iron and steel machinery and building components in Maryland. By the depression era, the Poole & Hunt facilities had closed down, along with many of the old plants and mills of Baltimore’s once vibrant Jones Falls Valley. In the 1990’s, a catastrophic fire brought down some of the remaining buildings at the old plant, but several significant buildings survived, including the Assembly Building and the adjacent, equally monumental, Tractor Building. In the early 2000’s, the developer Streuver Brothers with architects Cho Benn Holback & Associates, revitalized and renovated the Clipper Mill neighborhood, the Assembly Building, as well as surrounding buildings. New residences were built, and once again, the neighborhood started to flourish as a center for creative industries in the region.
In 2016, MCA Architecture signed a long-term agreement to lease the main commercial space in the Assembly Building, sharing the structure with modern loft apartments on the floors above. The front entrance is marked by the huge 50-ton gantry crane from the original industrial days, delicately supporting a whimsical glass sculpture by Anthony Corradeti. MCA’s space comprises over 10,000 net square feet, with the main floor and a mezzanine overlooking it on two sides.
Photo courtesy Andrew Nagl
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