Columbia, MD

Rouse Building


Frank Gehry designed the four-story, cement plaster-clad building as the headquarters for the Rouse Company.  The building, which opened in 1974, features several tiered terraces with wooden trellises.  As part of renovation project to covert the building to mixed-use occupancy, SGH provided building enclosure investigation and consulting services to the architect, Cho Benn Holback + Associates, working on behalf of the owner, The Howard Hughes Corporation.

SGH conducted a condition assessment of the existing cement plaster walls, terrace waterproofing, and roofing assemblies.  We concluded the following:

  • Cement plaster was failing and lacked waterproofing features needed for long-term durability
  • Terrace waterproofing and roofing membranes were at the end of their lifetime and water leaked through at several locations

We recommended a complete recladding of the building and developed three conceptual wall reconstruction options for the owner and architect to consider.  Understanding the importance of preserving the building’s appearance, we selected options, including a cement plaster or a synthetic plaster finish to replicate the existing plaster’s color and texture.  We used thermal modeling to evaluate the performance of each concept.

SGH also recommended removing and replacing terrace waterproofing assembly and existing roofing.  We presented two replacement concepts for the terraces and five replacement options for the roofing.

The design team prepared construction documents for a complete renovation.  SGH peer reviewed drawings and specifications related to the building enclosure design.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value
Repair & Rehabilitation | Preservation
Building Enclosures
Cho Benn Holback + Associates Inc.
Specialized Capabilities
Condition Assessments | Preservation

Key team members

Niklas Vigener
Niklas Vigener
Chief Technical Officer