Maryland Institute College of Art Dolphin Design Center

Baltimore, MD

Details
Fabrication, product design, game design, architectural design, and collaboration labs
Exhibit space, classrooms, project rooms, lecture hall, pin-up space
Private and shared offices, conference room, administrative support space
Designing in compliance with the International Green Construction Code
Owner
Maryland Institute College of Art
Services
Programming, Community Involvement, Sustainable Design, Interior Design, Full Design Services, Construction Administration, Building Information Modeling

Sited at the edge of the Bolton Hill Historic District, where the MICA campus meets a diverse residential/mixed-use community, the Dolphin Design Center is highly sensitive to its context in scale, massing, proportion, and color while a “kit of parts” exterior material palette, assembled with visible mechanical connections and fasteners, hint to and celebrate the innovation and invention happening within this maker building. 

The act of making is a transparent and visible part of the experience for both users and viewers. Large windows provide views into the fabrication lab on the ground level, and a glass garage door allows making to spill out onto the sidewalk. On the ground level and easily visible to passersby, a public exhibition hall showcases community lectures, student and alumni exhibits, and entrepreneur work sessions.  Large-scale artwork integrated into the façade design, communicates with the Bolton Hill, MICA, and Baltimore communities. 

Industrial and gritty, the interior features exposed ceilings, HVAC systems, and structural connections throughout the informal, open, and flexible studio spaces.  Support spaces and circulation are minimized, maximizing studio space and visibility into workspaces, thus fostering a culture of sharing and horizontal learning. Flexible power access and moveable furniture further encourage makers to move around—interacting with other inventors, sharing resources and knowledge, and solving challenges.

Pioneering in its architectural expression, yet contextual: the structural bay spacing mimics that of the neighboring historic townhouse fabric, while the steel detailing and color relates directly to the adjacent historic Mount Royal Train Shed. The structural connections’ prominence and visibility at each floor level celebrate the “making” process. 

What Our Clients Say

"This building symbolizes a new era at MICA. It demonstrates MICA's commitment to meld design thinking, art making, entrepreneurship, and real-world collaboration for 21st century creativity and innovation."

—Samuel Hoi, President