George Holback, AIA, LEED AP, a principal and co-founder of Cho Benn Holback + Associates, recently acquired by Quinn Evans Architects, has announced his retirement from professional practice.
An architect with dozens of award-winning historic preservation, restoration, and renovation projects to his credit, Holback has practiced throughout the Mid-Atlantic region for 35 years.
Together with Diane Cho, AIA, and David Benn, AIA, LEED AP, Holback helped launch one of Baltimore’s most successful and critically acclaimed architectural studios. Founded in 1979, Cho Benn Holback 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 Architects in May 2017, and continues to operate from its location on N. Charles Street in downtown Baltimore.
Notable projects under Holback’s design leadership include the renovation of the American Brewery in Baltimore, which transformed a circa-1887 industrial building into a community training center/ corporate headquarters; the renovation of a circa-1914 building near Union Station in Washington, D.C., to create the Smithsonian Institution’s new home for the National Postal Museum; the transformation of the historic Mercantile Bank building into Baltimore’s new Chesapeake Shakespeare Theater; the conversion of an early 20th-century fraternal lodge and movie theater into the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, Md., and restoration of the historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Long active in professional and community-based endeavors, Holback has served for many years as a volunteer with the Neighborhood Design Center, which assists underserved communities in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, Md. He holds a Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech (1983) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (1974). He is a LEED-accredited practitioner through the U.S. Green Building Council and a member of the American Institute of Architects.
“George Holback has been an inspiration not only to our firm, but to design professionals throughout this region. He leads by example, and has consistently demonstrated the transformative impact that design—and the willingness to tackle challenging projects—can have on our community. His remarkable gift is his vision. George has an ability to see the promise of neglected structures and neighborhoods, and to deliver on that promise with beautiful, economically viable buildings that bring communities back to life.”
Diane Cho, AIA
Quinn Evans Architects staff, along with Holback’s family, friends, and colleagues, celebrated his career at a reception held on November 8 at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Fred Lazarus IV Center in Baltimore. Among Holback’s most notable revitalization projects, the center was created through the adaptive use of a circa-1915 warehouse in an economically depressed neighborhood. The building, home to numerous cultural events, now anchors the city’s vibrant Station North Arts & Entertainment District.