Charles Commons

Baltimore, MD

Located on an urban site in Baltimore City, BKM provided MEP design for this multipurpose facility located at the corner of Charles Street and 33rd Street, adjacent to the Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus.

This state-of-the-art facility combines student housing with public/retail space. The 12-story, two-building project was designed to house 650 students and provided a full-service food court dining area with seating capacity for 215 people, as well as a large convention-style conference space suitable for an additional 330 people. One of the building’s primary features included the spacious two-story, 25,000-square-foot public Barnes & Noble Bookstore that served as the central student lounge. Charles Commons included ample amenity space for interaction, study, and recreational interests. Common space included open casual seating areas, lounges/reading rooms, game room, multipurpose room, exercise room, music rooms, computer clusters, community kitchens, small group study/conference rooms, and a central laundry room.

BKM designed mechanical systems for this project that included a 1,200-ton chiller plant with dedicated secondary chilled water pumping stations for each building. Gas-fired boilers were located in the penthouse mechanical room and provided heating water for the facility. Four-pipe fan coil units were provided for each residence apartment, while central station VAV air handlers were provided for the retail levels. Conventional lighting and power were provided for the residential units, while commercial power was provided for the retail and kitchen equipment. A 600 kW diesel generator was provided for emergency power for the life safety systems (emergency lighting, fire pump, elevator recall, IT and building security). The two-building complex was served electrically by three switchboards, two of which were dedicated to the residential loads with the third serving public space loads. Public space loads included the bookstore, dining facility, conference rooms. The central mechanical infrastructure comprised of chilled water and heating water systems.