Completed in 1964, the former apartment building is located on North Charles Street in Guilford. It is a 13-story reinforced-concrete and glass structure perched on columns that shelter a glass-enclosed lobby. But unlike many van der Rohe buildings (such as Baltimore's more famous Mies piece, One Charles Center), Highfield House doesn't make a stark statement. The elegant proportions of the wide window bays, the tan brick facing, and its position well back from the street soften the impact of its functional repetition and minimal detailing. The forest of columns holding the building aloft echoes the surrounding trees, while the largely transparent lobby allows a more unobstructed view of the leafy surroundings for the building's entrants and its passersby as well. Mies hid the building's parking garage on the lot's sloping backside and provided residents with a sunken pool/ recreation area in the rear, carrying graceful unobtrusiveness through the complete design.
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