Modernist former Maryland National Bank on North Avenue
The former Maryland National Bank building at the southwest corner of Maryland and North Avenues is a faded but still striking example of the modern architecture that accompanied the city’s growth in the 1950s and 1960s. The Fidelity Baltimore National Bank (a predecessor of Maryland National) opened their first branch location on North Avenue since the late 1930s. In the mid-1950s, the firm built a drive-in on the eastern side of Maryland Avenue—a structure still in use today as the home of K & M Motors.
The local architectural firm of Smith & Veale (Albert K. Broughton serving as the project architect) designed the modern building and the general contractor was the Lacchi Construction Company. Broughton remained a practicing architect in Maryland up through 2002, shortly before his death in 2005. Reflecting the continued importance of automobiles to retail banking, a large parking lot was located on the southern side of the building and the branch was designed so patrons could enter the bank from either North Avenue or the parking lot.
As the building went up in March 1961, the Baltimore Sun touted the bank as the city’s first commercial building with a precast concrete frame. The Nitterhouse Concrete Product Company in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania cast a series of t-shaped elements that were then transported to Baltimore by truck.
The Maryland National Bank sold the property in 1990 and, sometime after 1995, the Korean-American Grocers & Licensed Beverage Association of Maryland (KAGRO) moved into the building as their office. In 2015, the Contemporary occupied the building for an exhibition by artist Victoria Fu. The exhibition, Bubble Over Green, is described as multilayered audio-visual experience consisting of moving images projected onto architectural surfaces, aligning the physical site with the space and textures of digital post-production.