Diane Cho, AIA, a principal at Quinn Evans, and David Benn, AIA, LEED AP, a principal at Quinn Evans, have announced their retirement from professional practice. With a vast resume of esteemed historic preservation, restoration, and renovation projects to their credit, Cho and Benn have practiced for over 45 years.
Together with George Holback, AIA, LEED AP, Cho and Benn helped further one of Baltimore’s most successful and critically acclaimed architectural studios, Cho Benn Holback + Associates. Repositioned in 1979, Cho Benn Holback (founded as Cho Wilks + Associates in 1975) has been recognized with more than 200 design awards, including eight Grand Design awards from the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and five Public Building of the Year awards from AIA Maryland. The firm was acquired by Quinn Evans in May 2017 and provided the firm with a strong foothold in the Baltimore market with added experience in adaptive reuse, cultural, educational, and community design.
Cho’s career shows a record of her passion for the arts and education, and for revitalizing the communities that surround these invaluable resources. She has continuously strived to repair the urban fabric of Baltimore by designing spaces that can transform neighborhoods. Additionally, Cho has advocated for the advancement of women in architecture, having originally co-founded Cho Wilks + Associates (later Cho Benn Holback + Associates) in 1975 with classmate Barbara Wilks. Cho’s design portfolio includes many award-winning projects such as the Baltimore School for the Arts, the Jim Rouse Center at the American Visionary Art Museum, the Everyman Theatre, and Baltimore Center Stage. Most recently, Cho led the major renovation in the Baltimore Museum of Art leading the design team for the Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies and the Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.
Cho currently serves on the board of the Everyman Theatre, the Board of Visitors at Towson University, and the Board of Trustees at the Maryland Institute of College Art. She has previously served on the boards of the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fund for Educational Excellence, and as chair of the Maryland State Board of Architects. Cho is also an active member of the American Institute of Architects.
Cho holds a Bachelor of Architecture (1974) from Cornell University.
Benn’s career displays a clear interest in the context of buildings, education, and community preservation. Prior to joining Cho Wilks + Associates in 1983, Benn explored and developed his architectural inspirations while working in Europe and for several architectural firms in the U.S. After settling in Baltimore, Benn helped to expand the firm’s work into education and community projects, often combining new designs with renovation. Benn’s portfolio includes several master plan and community revitalization projects such as Baltimore’s Tindeco Wharf Apartments and Clipper Mill, Montgomery College Science Complex, Coppin State University, and the Pilot School in Delaware. His recent work includes creating a master plan for the Holy Korean Martyrs Catholic Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
Benn carried his interests in revitalization and preservation into volunteer work with urban design projects in Baltimore. A lot of existing buildings and warehouses near the waterfront became threatened as the land's value increased, and he volunteered for preservation projects meant to retain the waterfront's industrial character. In addition to receiving numerous awards for his design work, Benn made an impact through his professional association as a member of the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, the Society for College and University Planning, and Preservation Maryland. He also serves as the Baltimore Vice President, land economics of Lambda Alpha International, a board member and correspondent for The Waterfront Center Washington, D.C., and is a co-founder of the Baltimore Urban Design Committee, of which he is still a member.
Benn holds a Bachelor of Architecture (1974) from Cornell University.