Johns Hopkins University Student Center

Baltimore, MD, USA

A new hub for student life on the campus of one of the country’s most prestigious research universities.

As part of Johns Hopkins University’s growing Baltimore campus, a new student center will form the new hub for student life. The student center will house a flexible theatre and support spaces as well as various rehearsal rooms, multipurpose rooms, co-working spaces and community spaces so the student body can work and create together.

The forward-thinking new student center will be LEED certified and feature extensive use of sustainable materials. The CLT superstructure and lobby will invite people inward toward the new flexible theatre. Charcoalblue has taken on the role of theatre and acoustical consultant and designed the room layout, acoustics, seating, stage lighting and audio-visual systems, and stage engineering design for the theatre and theatre-related support spaces. The theatre will not only support the theatre department but also allow for different user groups throughout campus to benefit from its unique location and ability to quickly adapt to various uses. From open mic nights to galas to immersive musical production, the theatre will be at the heart of the new student center.

render courtesy of BIG

Charcoalblue consulted on the acoustic design and provided room acoustics, background noise, and sound separation advice to meet the client’s program and need for concurrent programming throughout the building. Central to the design was ensuring that simultaneous programming can be achieved with the main lobby ‘living room’ located directly above. Charcoalblue proposed and coordinated a design solution that introduced resilient supports for the theatrical overhead theatre systems and catwalk. Combining this with a quiet background noise level, the theatre will be able to meet the various needs of the client.

render courtesy of Rockwell Group

The technical scope included consideration for flexible use of the space, retractable seating and a tension wire grid as well ease of use for the different user groups. As a student run facility, safety, accessibility and learning opportunities were key to the design to ensure a collaborative and open learning environment.

In collaboration with the architects BIG, Shepley Bullfinch and Rockwell Group, the acoustic, audiovisual, and theatrical design elements came together to work seamlessly with the architectural vision.

render courtesy of BIG

Project Details


Johns Hopkins University


Bjarke Ingels Group, Rockwell Group, Shepley Bulfinch




In Progress

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John Owens is a Charcoalblue Partner responsible for our North American practice.

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