The Port Discovery Children’s Museum is located just a few blocks from downtown Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. Delon Hampton & Associates (DHA) provided structural engineering services for this interactive, high-tech learning center designed to stimulate the already active imaginations and creative thinking of children. The museum is a remarkable adaptive reuse of a three-story structure that was originally a historic fish market, and most recently a nightclub. When the original structure barely survived severe fire damage, all that remained were exterior walls and steel roof trusses. A concrete frame was constructed inside the historic “envelope” nearly 20 years ago. DHA designed new structural floors and frames to transform the nightclub into a museum for children.
DHA worked closely with the project architect to create a museum that worked both efficiently and economically within the constraints of the existing structure. Walt Disney Imagineering of California supplied the exhibit designs, and DHA coordinated the structural engineering of the building with their team. The several story high “jungle gym” feature in the middle of the museum was particularly challenging.