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)
  • 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

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