Projecting Out While Drawing In

Center for Architecture and Design

Center for Architecture and Design

Baltimore, Maryland

The Center is a dynamic hub where Baltimore’s design professionals engage with the public, students, and each other. Located in a storefront in Baltimore’s central business district, The Center serves as the headquarters for AIA Baltimore and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. Through an innovative partnership model, it also provides administrative and collaborative spaces for other design-oriented organizations.

The Center engages visitors and passers-by with large windows that provide views into the space and the activities within. Movable partitions, including mesh curtains and movable “project bars,” easily reconfigure and subdivide the large commons to support a variety of meetings and programs.

Projecting Out While Drawing In
The two main goals – engaging the public and creating a dynamic hub for professionals, students, and the public – are accomplished in a clever way. The project is a testament to the creativity that can be found in architecture and is especially appropriate for this client.
A large gathering space with guest lecturer speaking to a crowd from the front of a room.

Bringing the Design Professions Together

Partner organizations sharing the space include the Baltimore chapters of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA); the Maryland chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); Baltimore Heritage; and the Charles Street Development Corporation.

A photo of a woman walking through a shared office space.

Updating Modernism

Modernist buildings like the one housing The Center (One Charles Center, designed by Mies van der Rohe) have been criticized as cold and uninviting. Our design takes a timeless approach to embrace Mies’ legacy, while addressing the social critique of exclusivity and rigidity associated with Modernism by being dynamic, open and flexible. The project serves as a catalyst for local involvement, environmental awareness and social awakening.

Project Bars

The moveable project bars glide easily across the floor, but they do much more than just divide the space. These interactive furniture elements provide pin-up boards, writable surfaces, and hidden storage for the meeting spaces they create.

A photo of people at a kitchen countertop talking.

Reinterpreted Materials

The green marble used for the reception desk and workspace countertop had been stored for years in the building’s basement following a renovation. Our team reimagined the marble: it is no longer a material to be admired from afar, but a work surface that brings people together in collaboration.

A photo of a woman hiding a bookcase with a sliding wooden door.
A photo of a man moving a wooden box.

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