501, Preston St., E., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Industrial Building is a large 7-story industrial-style structure. It features an "E" plan, reinforced concrete and steel-frame construction, and large pivoted-sash windows. The front façade is 5 bays wide, while the 244-foot Brentwood Avenue (west) façade has 12 bays. The building is located in a primarily residential area with some mixed industrial uses. It is highly visible, rising above the surrounding 2 and 3-story housing. The building’s front (north) façade is characterized by a symmetrical window arrangement and a large 2-story, round-arched entranceway. The entrance arch has a pronounced keystone and geometric neo-classical ornamentation. Seven stone steps with a simple iron railing lead to two sets of wood and glass double doors each with a three-light transom. A large tripartite semicircular multi-paned window fills the arch above the entrance doors. Above the arch, the words "INDUSTRIAL BUILDING" are carved in stone. The first level of the front façade is rusticated, with basement window wells. The windows have been infilled with concrete. This façade is divided into a three-bay entrance section and two narrower one-bay end sections by large pilasters extending from the second to the seventh level. The end section windows are smaller and square. The roofline of the front façade is defined by a cornice and parapet wall with crenellations on the entrance section. The roof detail of the end sections features incised diamond ornamentation and parapets rising above the roofline of the entrance section.
The Industrial Building is one of a trend of such structures built in American cities in the early 20th century. For Baltimore, and the other cities as well, it was an innovative effort to attract small industries to the downtown. It was successful as such until the 1960s. The building is again planned for an innovative use in its conversion to housing for the elderly, which it is hoped will encourage the revitalization of the neighborhood. Architecturally the building stems from the commercial style and reflects directly its industrial use in the interior open space, electrical system, and pivoted-sash windows. It was designed by Baltimore architect Theodore W. Pietsch.