The James Rouse Visionary Arts Center

Baltimore, MD

BKM provided m/e/p design services for this AVAM expansion involved in the renovation and adaptation of a whiskey barrel warehouse into exhibit and reception/multi-use space.

The Jim Rouse Visionary Center at the AVAM is the poster-child for “adaptive reuse” projects.  This facility involves the renovation and adaptation of a 1930s era turn-of-the-century whiskey barrel warehouse into a modern exhibit, educational, and assembly space.  The project also included the development of a master plan for linking this facility to the existing Museum Building.  This project incorporated a number of sustainable design techniques, including the integration of found objects such as wood scaffolding found in the original warehouse and recycled bottles for the "glass bottle wall."
This facility now consists of a 7,500-square-foot, two-story exhibit space and a 7,500-square-foot open assembly room, known as the Visionary Center, as well as multiple classrooms, meeting rooms, administrative areas, and public support spaces. 
Mechanical systems consist of a 100-ton air-cooled chiller serving three central station air handling units.  Heating water is produced by a 3,000 MBH gas-fired boiler, providing hot water for the distributed reheat coils, as well as the first floor hydronic radiant heating system.  Power originates from a new 1,000 A service, with life safety features supported by a 100 kW emergency generator.  Specialty lighting was provided throughout the exhibit spaces, consisting of combination of recessed, adjustable low voltage lighting fixtures (MR-16) and recessed, multi-circuit track. 

Project Details

  • Client American Visionary Arts Musuem
  • Size 35,000 SF
  • Cost $5.8 M
  • Architect Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc.