Award-winning Project

Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church



Brown Memorial is an historic stone and marble church built in 1870. A.R. Marani was selected as the design/build contractor through a proposal and interview process. Once selected we met with the owner monthly to present our designs and budgets for review, discussion and refinement. The project consisted of the historic restoration and structural repairs to the South Tower and a complete renovation of the Fellowship Hall building. The exterior of the church was under Maryland Historic Trust protection.

In the South Tower, a portion of the interior stone facing had collapsed. ARM designed a cost-effective temporary support system for the remaining stone above the collapsed area and rebuilt the stone facing. We repointed the rest of the interior stone and tore out a collapsing wood platform that supplied access to the bell and replaced it with a similar structure built of salvaged old growth lumber. Using additional salvaged lumber, we replaced several rotted-out window frames. On the exterior of the tower, we repointed the stone, repainted the windows and louvers and then lightly cleaned the stone and marble.

Work in the Fellowship Building started with asbestos abatement and an almost complete gut of the interior of the three floors. ARM installed a three-stop elevator in a new shaft, refurbished the first-floor historic windows and replaced all the windows on the upper level with new windows of historic design. We replaced the incoming electric service, installed all the interior electrical systems, plumbing and HVAC. The existing kitchen was reconfigured and the equipment, tile flooring, cabinetry and finishes where replaced. The third-floor tutoring rooms were reconfigured. Portions of the second-floor walls were reconfigured, creating classrooms, an office and a small kitchen. The first floor was turned into a large gathering space. New finishes were installed throughout the building.

Brown Memorial has a very large pipe organ, with 2,939 pipes, installed in 1931. As part of our preparations for the Fellowship building demolition above and adjacent to the organ room, we installed a HEPA filtration system that kept the room under positive pressure, stopping any construction dust from entering. After consultations with their master organ technician, they decided to tear out the old organ blower room and replace it to allow more access for maintenance. The organ technician disconnected the power and air pipes and ARM carefully moved the historic blower and bellows from the area. We rebuilt the organ room, moved everything back into place and the organ technician made his final connections and tuned the organ.

Project Details:
Architect Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects
Size 8,263 sf
Cost $1.46 Million
Award 2019 Merit Award
General Contractors – Historical
Renovation & Restoration
Associated Builders & Contractors