Jim Rouse Visionary Center

Nestled at the base of historic Federal Hill, the Jim Rouse Visionary Center represents the third and final addition to the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland, the only museum of its kind in the country. Named in honor or urban visionary, Jim Rouse, this abandoned waterside whiskey barrel warehouse now houses a center devoted to promoting the theme of creative social action.

American Visionary Arts Museum
Baltimore, Maryland
Adaptive Reuse
View Project Gallery

Visionary re-use

  1. Inspiration for the design came from reusing the dramatic timber structure that formerly held stacked kegs of whiskey. Much of it was removed to gain program space, yet an entire bay was retained.
  2. Rehabilitating the intricate framework and bracing the historic structure, salvaged existing timbers were utilized in the new construction.
  3. The blue glass bottle wall serves as a focal highlight of the space.
  4. Andrew Logan's 8-foot Cosmic Galaxy Egg welcomes visitors to the entry courtyard.

The building is situated toward a fabulous view back towards Jim Rouse’s Harborplace, the hallmark project that ignited Baltimore’s waterfront development.


Imaginative features

  1. Second floor classroom space was formed by a simple curved wall made out of blue glass bottle bottoms that hang dramatically over the exhibit space.
  2. The much sought-after third floor provides a perfect venue for public events with amenities including a full-service kitchen and the capacity to seat and serve over 400 guests.
  3. A dividing wall, made of donated barrel staves from Jack Daniels, screens service functions while also helping acoustically.
  4. "Flicks on the hill" has become the strongest link to the community, providing movie goers a place to relax while watching movies projected on the three story outdoor screen.

The "birds nest" sculpture/balcony on the third floor offers spectacular views back to the harbor.