Baltimore Jewelry Center

Baltimore Jewelry Center

  • Owner: Baltimore Jewelry Center
  • Size: 3,510 SF
  • Completion Date: 2015

The Baltimore Jewelry Center (BJC) is a not-for-profit communal fabrication and educational space for teaching the technical and artistic foundation of jewelry design as well as a space for local artisans to produce their own work.

Originally housed in a mill complex, BJC was short of the space and infrastructure needed to operate effectively as well as meet modern codes for safety around volatile elements. With cost a major concern for the project, potential spaces were limited to smaller, less expensive options. In an emerging arts district, an old movie theater/car dealership/check processing facility became the site of choice. Buried in the center of what was originally the theater’s inner shell, we developed a simple, but highly effective plan relative to the demands of the space. 

The heart of the space is the open classroom/work area with custom designed benches allowing 36 workspaces. An additional 20 benches in a semi-private area are available for rental by professional artisans. Made from reclaimed wood, each space has individual power and lighting. A large sliding door will divide the classroom space for greater flexibility of usage.

A primary circulation path along an internal façade connects the various zones. The light filled peripheral zoned provides a dramatic entry gallery with custom display areas mounted to the exposed block of the original theater shell. The office is located at the end of the gallery adjacent to the portal into the main spaces allowing for visibility and control of access.

The 2015 AIA Baltimore Excellence in Design Awards Jury commented that "the design offers simplicity and restraint for a makers lab.  It has an industrial quality without being too design-y. The furniture and equipment blend really well with the overall aesthetic. Every detail was thought about, like the multi-colored peg board. The display corridor is very nice, as are the color palette and materials. Often these are spaces that are un-designed, and difficult to make look good."