BIG Selected to Design a Socially Engaging Hub for the Johns Hopkins University

BIG Selected to Design a Socially Engaging Hub for the Johns Hopkins University, Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Johns Hopkins University has selected BIG to design its new Student Center, regenerating the heart of its campus and reviving the social experience, from a shortlisted list of 4 offices, after a months-long international competition. Entitled “The Village”, the proposal is an “open, modern, and welcoming facility envisioned as a social engagement hub for all members of the Hopkins community”.

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Set to begin construction in spring 2022 and to be completed by fall 2024, the new Hopkins Student Center, received overwhelmingly positive reviews from students, staff, and alumni, who contributed to the selection process. BIG’s third academic building in the United States -following the Isenberg School of Management Business Innovation Hub for the University of Massachusetts Amherst and The Heights Building for Arlington Public Schools, both completed in 2019- is in collaboration with Shepley Bulfinch as Architect of Record, along with Rockwell Group for interior design and Michael Van Valkenburg Associates for landscape design.

Having taught at a number of world-renowned universities on the East Coast, it is an incredible honor to have been chosen to create the framework for the life of the Johns Hopkins students. We have attempted to imagine and design the Campus Center like a village condensed from a plethora of different spaces and pavilions for the greatest possible diversity of activities, interests, and sub-cultures. — Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Creative Director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.


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Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Supporting the university’s sustainability goals, the imagined scheme was praised for its open feel, connections to surrounding exterior spaces, abundance of natural daylight, and integrated sustainable features. The 150,000 square foot building, located just south of the iconic open space on the Johns Hopkins, will encompass spaces for relaxation and socialization, creative and performing arts spaces, student resources and support services, lounges, a digital media center, a performance space with seating for 200 people, and a dynamic dining hall. Generating connectivity with the neighboring Charles Village community, the project creates a new dynamic entry point, at the crossroads of student activity. 

Often the greatest ideas and breakthroughs occur away from the desk, when minds have a chance to wander, to play, to riff with others. The new Hopkins Student Center is designed to provoke the sometimes-necessary distractions that complement rigorous academic life – a place for a future generation of Salks, Curies, and Cricks to unlock their next great discovery. — Leon Rost, Partner, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

“Not academically focused, but entirely social by design, Open to all, reserved for none, and boasting the kind of flexible spaces that invite connection and collaboration” states Ronald J Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University. The proposal imagined as a central living room is surrounded by a collection of spaces tailored to the needs of the community. With entry from all four levels, the building maintains a friendly human scale, while the open façade reveals dining areas, spilling out onto the plaza.

Regarding the structure, the mass timber provides a warm and acoustically comfortable environment as light filters in between the photovoltaic roof panels. In fact, the open design allows light to enter the clerestory windows and leaves all student activities and school spirit on display. Finally, the indoor area of “The Village” is comprised of a cluster of flexible spaces, which open out on to four rejuvenated public spaces, and the landscape around the building generates outdoor spaces for student activities and events.

Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

Hopkins Student Center

  • Name: Hopkins Student Center
  • Type: Competition
  • Size: 13,935m2
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland, US
  • Client: Johns Hopkins University
  • Collaborators: Shepley Bulfinch (Architect of Record), Rockwell Group (Interior Architects), Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (Landscape Architects)
  • Architect: BIG – BJARKE INGELS GROUP
  • Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Leon Rost
  • Associate-in-Charge: Elizabeth McDonald
  • Project Leaders: Jason Wu, Lawrence Olivier Mahadoo
  • Team: Alex Wu, Xi Zhang, Chia-Yu Liu, Guillaume Evain, Jakub Kulisa, Kig Veerasunthorn, Mike Munoz, Tom Lasbrey, Tony Saba Shiber, Blake Smith, Corliss Ng, Florencia Kratsman, Francesca Portesine, Jamie Maslyn Larson, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Kevin Pham, Josiah Poland, Jialin Yuan, Ken Chongsuwat, Duncan Horswill, Ben Caldwell, Margaret Tyrpa, Terrence Chew, Tracy Sodder, Chris Pin, Alexander Matthias Jacobson, Tore Banke, Frederic Lucien Engasser, Xingyue Huang,Jesper Petersen, Kaoan Hengles

Architectural Photography and Scale: Human Figure as an Essential Assessment Tool

Architectural Photography and Scale: Human Figure as an Essential Assessment Tool, © CreatAR Images
© CreatAR Images

The incorporation of the human figure is one of the most effective tools used in architectural photography: it helps the viewer decipher the scale of work and assess its amplitude. While it successfully communicates a rough idea of the measurements of the elements in the picture, it also helps architecture become more relatable and accessible. People engage better with the built environment when it is populated, mainly because the human sense of society and community is the cornerstone of our civilization. With this in mind, we are showcasing a selection of our favorite photographs where the human figure takes center stage, enhancing our reading of architecture.

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Human Scale in Parks

Due to the size of parks and landscapes projects, it is hard to give a proper sense of the scale when taking photographs. There are a lot of elements that can help to have a better understanding of the proportions of an intervention, but capturing the space with people is the most efficient way to help the viewer have a point of reference.  

V-Plaza Urban Development / 3deluxe architecture

© Norbert Tukaj
© Norbert Tukaj

Public Park in Tlalnepantla / PRODUCTORA

© Erick Mendez
© Erick Mendez

Jaworznickie Planty Water Playground / RS + Robert Skitek

© Tomasz Zakrzewski
© Tomasz Zakrzewski

Loop of Wisdom Museum & Reception Center / Powerhouse Company

© Jonathan Leijonhufvud Architectural Photography
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud Architectural Photography

Azatlyk, Central Square of Naberezhnye Chelny / DROM

© Dmitry Chebanenko
© Dmitry Chebanenko

Human Scale in Public Spaces

What would public spaces be without people? Viewers engage better with a space when it is populated; and when they get to see the different architectural possibilities. 

Confluence Park / Lake|Flato Architects + Matsys Design

© Casey Dunn
© Casey Dunn

Jojutla Central Gardens / MMX

© Dane Alonso
© Dane Alonso

Vestre Fjord Park / ADEPT

© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj

PARK PARK / Public City Architecture

© Kokemor Studio
© Kokemor Studio

Haduwa Stage / [applied] Foreign Affairs, Institute of Architecture, University of Applied Arts Vienna

© Julien Lanoo
© Julien Lanoo

The Surface Interactive Installation / stpmj

© Jihun Bae
© Jihun Bae

Park ‘n’ Play / JAJA Architects

© Rasmus Hjortshøj
© Rasmus Hjortshøj

Human Scale in Pavilions

Pavilions usually are very expressive and artistic spaces, in which measurements and scales tend to get lost in pictures. Without a human figure, it is very hard to give the viewers a real sense of the size and use of these types of projects. 

Norway Tells Pavilion / LCLA Office + Manthey Kula Architects

© LCLA Office
© LCLA Office

Reflektor Pavilion / Atelier ARI

© Yves Bercez
© Yves Bercez

Escape Vehicle #9- ICE / Studio Morison

Courtesy of Studio Morison
Courtesy of Studio Morison

Furniture Pavilion S and its Afterlife / Rooi Design and Research pavilion exterior facade

© Feng Shao
© Feng Shao

AirMesh Pavilion / AIRLAB

Courtesy of AirMesh Pavilion
Courtesy of AirMesh Pavilion

Frame Pavilion / Menthol Architects

© Anush Aleksanyan, Edvard Budnikov, Rastsislau Piakhouski
© Anush Aleksanyan, Edvard Budnikov, Rastsislau Piakhouski

Human Scale in Public Buildings

Adding users into public buildings, not only helps to scale architecture, but also gives the viewer a chance to understand the use of a building, making architecture more accessible and relatable. 

Maya Somaiya Library, Sharda School / Sameep Padora & Associates

© Edmund Sumner
© Edmund Sumner

Tianjin Binhai Library / MVRDV + Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute

© Ossip van Duivenbode
© Ossip van Duivenbode

House for Architectural Heritage / Noura Al Sayeh & Leopold Banchini Architects

© Dylan Perrenoud
© Dylan Perrenoud

Tencent Beijing Headquarters / OMA

© Ossip van Duivenbode
© Ossip van Duivenbode

V&A Museum / AL_A

© Hufton + Crow
© Hufton + Crow

Idea Exchange Old Post Office Library / RDHA

© Tom Arban
© Tom Arban

Este artículo es parte del Tema del mes en ArchDaily: Escala Humana. Cada mes exploramos un tema en profundidad a través de artículos, entrevistas, noticias y obras. Conoce más sobre nuestros temas aquí. Y como siempre, en ArchDaily valoramos las contribuciones de nuestros lectores. Si quieres postular un artículo o una obra, contáctanos.

MVRDV-designed lingerie store in Paris uses transparent glass floor for a more “revealing” design approach


Photos by Ossip van Duivenbode.

MVRDV has completed a new flagship store in Paris for French lingerie brand Etam, renovating a 19th-century Haussmann building by removing its internal barriers and adding a glass floor to allow light to fill the interior.

The project sits at a corner site on Boulevard Haussmann, in one of the prime shopping locations in Paris near the Opera Garnier. MVRDV cut back the exterior of the building to highlight its classical appearance whilst allowing natural light to enter the store at both ends.

This “stripped down” approach moves to the interior, where the design reveals the original stone structure through the removal of interior walls and part of the mezzanine floor above. At ground level, a glass floor stretches as one of the project’s defining features. It allows light to enter the basement level and connects visitors at the ground level to the level below and vice versa.

The floor is treated with a special film that makes it transparent when viewed at an angle, but clouded when viewed directly above or below, MVRDV said in a statement. This is intended to provide privacy and prevent vertigo for those standing on the floor.

Mezzanine level
Ground level
Basement level

“‘Unravelling beauty’ is almost a generic and eternal value that can be learned somehow from the world of lingerie. The revealing – but directional – glassification of the store allows for a delicate balance between transparency and privacy, for intimacy and distance, unravelling the beauty of Haussmann and Etam’s products, users, and visitors,” said MVRDV Founding Partner Winy Maas in a statement. “In the stores we design, we often like to try new, unexpected materials and love to play with different types of glass. The Etam flagship store is the first time we have brought these approaches to a building where so much of the existing structure must be maintained.”

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