FROM THE AIA MARYLAND
The Maryland House and Chesapeake House travel plazas serve more than 5 million visitors per year on Interstate 95, the most heavily traveled highway on the East Coast. Deterioration of the original buildings from constant use led the Maryland Transportation Authority to seek replacement designs. The design team saw the project as an opportunity to reintroduce the travel plazas in a sustainable way, transforming the concept of the isolated and prototyped node along a state highway from a “drive-in, drive-out” user mentality into an opportunity for millions of visitors to engage with high performance buildings that are intimately tied to Maryland culture and ecology. Sited within the existing buildings’ footprints to preserve trees and green space, the architects looked to regional architectural forms and the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, as a source of inspiration. The bold designs respond to the scale and speed of the highway, yet provide a memorable sense of pause. The facilities are restful, convenient, and fresh and take every effort to preserve and enhance the existing natural features of the sites.