Overview

The Baltimore of yesteryear was an industrial city, focused in manufacturing. The Charm City of today is undergoing a reawakening as young professionals move in and start to change the city into what Forbes called a “new tech hot spot.” It’s a far cry from the city of neighborhoods’ harbor factory origins, but that doesn’t mean its businesses can’t adapt to the changing times. The established firms on this list of architecture firms highlights those that are adapting their designs to accommodate the trend of open office spaces, and they have the clients to prove it.

Top Architects

10
Arium AE

Architects:
Scott Walthour
Brian Frels
Stephanie Bounds Nunn

Address:
5537 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 435, Columbia, MD 21045

Contact:
410-730-2300 |
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About Arium AE

Arium AE was founded in 1988, and since then, it’s cultivated a loyal client base comprised of names in the public and private sectors. In fact, 80 percent of the firm’s work is commissioned by repeat clients. Arium specializes in architecture, interior design; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering; planning; and green design. They take pride in their diverse body of work, completing projects for commercial, residential, government, education, and healthcare interests. Arium’s principals are Scott Walthour, PE, a LEED Advanced Professional certified in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD&C); Brian Frels, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB); and Stephanie Bounds Nunn, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Associate. The three principals hail from several different corners of the country, and their talents have brought them together at Arium. The firm itself has been certified by Green Globes, a green rating assessment and certification program similar to LEED.

Featured Projects

Showcased here are Arium’s designs for Columbia Association and Social Growth Technologies, Inc. The two projects encapsulate the growing presence of young professionals in the Maryland landscape, and the demands firms like Arium must rise up to meet. Columbia Association’s new office aimed to provide a functional space that allows for employees to stay happy and productive. To that end, Arium’s design emphasized natural light, collaborative spaces, and consistent branding. An example of such collaborative space are the informal breakout spaces constructed for Columbia Association employees to hold casual discussions. For the less-established yet fast-growing Social Technologies, Inc., Arium’s design implements similar measures. The primary conference room was given a glass wall to give that open feel, and bold splashes of color can be seen on some of the walls. The noise concerns that usually come with open office plans were solved by creating multi-person teaming offices, allowing for that needed focus. With their design, Arium provided the tech company a space in which to grow.

9
Design Collective

Architects:
Dennis Jankiewicz
Fred Marino

Awards:
AIA Maryland People’s Choice Award,
AIA Baltimore Grand Design Award,
ULI Award for Excellence

Address:
601 East Pratt Street, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21202

Contact:
410-685-6655 |
info@designcollective.com

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About Design Collective

Design Collective’s headquarters join some of the other firms on this list with their Inner Harbor location. The firm offers architecture, planning, interior design, landscape architecture, and graphics services in the Baltimore area. They serve the education, research, residential, retail, civic, and commercial markets with their multi-disciplinary and award-winning designs. Their list of commercial clients includes Under Armour; Wells Fargo, Inc.; the University of Maryland Baltimore; and the Cordish Companies. Design Collective’s leadership includes Luis Bernardo, a fellow of the AIA (FAIA), LEED AP BD+C, who acts as a senior principal, as well as other AIA, LEED Accredited Professionals. One thing that makes Design Collective stand out from the other firms on this list is their devotion to up-and-coming professionals in the industry. They provide scholarships to the diverse array of students who catch their attention.

Featured Projects

Design Collective’s work on Cushman & Wakefield’s offices in Charm City totaled to a cost of $1.5M for a one-floor commercial design project. The workplace covers an area of 18,200 square feet and implements what the real estate services firm calls an “activity-based workplace” solution. To achieve this, Design Collective created a more collaborative office space to contrast with Cushman & Wakefield’s older, more enclosed model. The team designers allowed the office to take advantage of harbor views and included private rooms for more focused work. These consisted of a library and what were referred to as Focus Rooms. Johns Hopkins University selected Design Collective to fit out their Technology Ventures and FastForward Accelerator space, which aims to support the university’s entrepreneurial communities. The 37k-square-foot location will include start-up labs, a hub, and office space. The unique design won Design Collective the ENR Mid-Atlantic Region’s Award of Merit in Small Projects under $10M this year.

8
Aumen Asner, Inc.

Architects:
Michael D. Asner
Karen S. Aumen

Awards:
Baltimore Business Journal 4th Top Interior Design Firm

Address:
100 N. Charles Street, Suite 910, Baltimore, MD 21201

Contact:
410-837-2767 |
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About Aumen Asner, Inc.

For the last four decades, Aumen Asner has been providing programming, space planning, interior design, procurement, and rendering services to the Baltimore area. The firm is WBE certified, and their team includes LEED Accredited Professionals. Aumen Asner’s clients span the country, and the firm has completed projects for the senior living, multi-family housing, corporate, hospitality, education, and residential markets. Originally founded by Michael D. Asner in 1969, it is now headed by President Karen S. Aumen. The firm was named number four out of five on the top interior design firms of Baltimore by the Baltimore Business Journal. Their billings in 2016 totaled to $3.3M, serving 45 interior design clients throughout the year. The Business Journal also named Aumen Asner one of the largest woman-owned businesses in the city by revenue in 2016.

Featured Projects

Aumen Asner designed the interiors of St. John Properties’ corporate headquarters in Baltimore. The space is a sophisticated, traditional office space, featuring warm lighting, wooden furniture, and sparse yet tasteful decor. The walls, floors, and much of the furniture is purposefully restricted to solid, bold, yet lux colors, while the occasional rug and set of chairs adds a sophisticated pop of pattern. Another corporate headquarters that Aumen Asner was responsible for was that of XL Health. The design is reminiscent to that of St. John’s, with its ample lighting and welcoming wooden accents, but there are examples of modern design in its execution, most apparent in the sleek boardroom. Finally, there is the office of the firm itself. This design departs from the traditional office atmosphere in the previous projects and opts for tall, floor-to-ceiling windows, a much more open approach to workstations, and ample usage of the company’s brand color. Its red can be seen on the floors and the light fixtures.

7
Hord Coplan Macht

Architects:
Ed Hord
Carol Macht

Awards:
Building Design & Construction 46th Top Green Architecture Firm

Address:
750 East Pratt Street, Suite 1100, Baltimore, MD 21202

Contact:
410-837-7311 |
info@hcm2.com

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About Hord Coplan Macht

Ed Hord, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C; Lee Coplan, AIA; and Carol Macht, a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA), all teamed up in 1977 to create this architecture and design firm. The team’s approach to design problems is to employ collaborative, multi-disciplinary solutions that are also sustainable. In fact, the team has had their hand in over a hundred LEED-certified projects, totalling 4.8M in square footage. To this effect, they have been named the 46th Top Green Architecture Firm by Building Design & Construction. On top of that, the firm is also one of the founding members of Mindful Materials, a design initiative for transparency and optimization in the acquisition of building materials. In the four decades since Hord Coplan Macht’s founding, the firm has grown to employ 230 workers across offices in Baltimore, Denver, and DC.

Featured Projects

One of Hord Coplan Macht’s portfolio items is the design of Qdoba’s Corporate Headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Working together with the fast casual restaurant chain, Hord Coplan Macht designers finished an open office concept that featured what were called ‘landing’ areas, where couches and desks could be found. The design included new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems for the test kitchen. Hord Coplan Macht placed emphasis on working flexibly and nimbly with Qdoba. In Baltimore, Hord Coplan Macht completed the relocation and interior design of the Traumatic Brain Injury Unit. The project would allow the hospital to increase staffing efficiency and the square footage of the unit. Additionally, new patient amenities were included in the construction, including a rehab gym, dining and common areas, and other elements that would help a patient adapt to going home. The patient rooms are ADA-compliant, and features like medicine cabinets and bathrooms are strategically located to maximize efficiency. Located fifteen minutes away, west of Towson University, is the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt. The firm designed its expansion and renovation. The space accommodates 11 new clinicians, additional waiting area space, and an expanded administrative support center. Hord Coplan Macht designed the new client-facing lobby to be more welcoming, with cool, blue and grey tones in the artwork and the furniture.

6
Arris, a Design Studio, Inc.

Architects:
Judith A.P. James, Alex J. Kramer, Jeff Taylor

Awards:
Mayor’s Recognition Award

Address:
111 Water Street #300, Baltimore, MD 21202

Contact:
410-752-5006 |
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About Arris, a Design Studio, Inc.

The team at Arris is led by three individuals who each possess three decades of experience in the industry. Judith A.P. James, LEED AP, and a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), is the first principal officer and co-founder, and a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her past work includes corporate office, healthcare, restaurant, and retail projects. Alongside her are the other two principal officers, Alex J. Kramer, a fellow Maryland Institute College of Art graduate who is the master and strategic planning expert of the firm, and Jeff Taylor, the project manager, who received his B.S. in Interior Design from the University of Maryland. Arris has been named one of the most generous corporate givers by the Baltimore Business Journal more than once since its founding. The team has also received the Mayor’s Recognition Award for their development of the Baltimore community.

Featured Projects

One of the more recognizable names on Arris’s client list is video game company Firaxis Games. Firaxis generates an estimated revenue of $9.9M, possessing a sizable chunk of the multi-billion dollar industry. Their headquarters are located in Sparks, MD and cover an area of 35k square feet. Arris’s design of the workplace is colored in the company’s trademark orange and allows for several spaces for the video game developers to collaborate with each other, while still allowing for natural light to filter into the office. Further south in Owings Mills is the headquarters and showroom facility Arris designed for Douron. The green office space features a creative wall set-piece symbolizing the creativity of the furniture dealership. Besides looking nice, the design was granted LEED Silver and won Arris an NAIOP Award for Best LEED Interior from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

5
CallisonRTKL

Architects:
Jennifer Barnes

Awards:
design:retail Design Firm of the Year

Address:
901 South Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

Contact:
410-537-6000 |
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About CallisonRTKL

This globally renowned architecture and design practice has seen success as far away as China and Uganda, and as close to home as Virginia and Washington, DC. The Baltimore office’s director of interiors of the architecture and design studio is Jennifer Barnes, IIDA, LEED AP. Barnes has experience leading corporate and public projects that can be anywhere between 5,000 to 2M square feet. Her design philosophy revolves around finding creative solutions from different disciplines to meet the ever-evolving demands of the workplace. CallisonRTKL’s most recent accomplishment was being named the Design Firm of the Year by design:retail for the second year in a row.

Featured Projects

Fortune 500 real estate firm JLL sought the talents of CallisonRTKL to design the interior of their JLL Innovation Center in Baltimore. Everywhere the client looks is a reminder the great city, whether in the street maps emblazoned on the conference room fronts, the clippings of local headlines decorating the ceiling, or the wooden ceilings and floors reminiscent of the city’s shipping industry. The space combines the established legacy of Baltimore with forward-looking workplace practices. In Washington, DC, the American Insurance Association celebrated their 150th anniversary by utilizing CallisonRTKL’s design team to create an efficient, collaborative office space. The office includes sit-stand desks, privacy screens, and a library. In the end, CallisonRTKL’s work resulted in a sophisticated office decorated with clean, geometric lines and open spaces.

4
Brown Craig Turner Architects

Architects:
Bryce Turner

Awards:
Baltimore Business Journal 5th Top Interior Design Firm,
ULI WaveMaker Award

Address:
10 N. Charles Street, 18th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201

Contact:
410-837-2727 |
design@bctarchitects.com

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About Brown Craig Turner Architects

BCT Architects was named the 5th top interior design firm in the city by Baltimore Business Journal. Their interior design billings amounted to $3.1M in 2016, accomplished by serving 25 clients. Besides interior design, the team at BCT Architects also provides architecture, master planning, and environmental graphics services. Bryce Turner, FAIA, is the president and CEO of BCT Architects. It is a position well-deserved by the architect, who is registered in 20 different US states and has directed the design of international projects. Turner is a former chair of the ULI and is also involved in many local nonprofits in the Baltimore area. Under his leadership, BCT Architects has created many award-winning designs, including those that have won the ULI’s WaveMaker award.

Featured Projects

BCT Architects’ first featured project is the full-service architecture; interior design; and furniture, fixtures, and equipment project the firm completed for Double Positive, an internet marketing company. The goal of the expansion was to create spaces for meetings as well as for informal gatherings. The project covered 5,500 square feet and also managed to create additional work stations in the office. Also featured is BCT Architects’ work at 7000 Columbia Gateway Drive. The scope of the project was similar to that of the Double Positive project, but this time covered an area of 10k square feet. Where the Double Positive space is colorful and reflects trending business practices, 7000 Columbia is more austere and traditional, with a more utilitarian design.

3
Marks Thomas Architects

Architects:
Mark R. Heckman
Tom Liebel
Michael Blake
Faith Nervins Hawks
Magda C. Westernhout

Awards:
AIA Maryland Excellence in Design Award,
ULI WaveMaker Award,
NAHB Silver Best 50+ Remodeled

Address:
1414 Key Highway, 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21230

Contact:
410-539-4300 |
info@marks-thomas.com

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About Marks Thomas Architects

Among many other honors, this Baltimore-based, WBE certified architecture firm was awarded the Excellence in Design Award in 2015 by AIA Maryland; the WaveMaker Award in 2015, 2012, 2011, and 2009 by various chapters of the ULI; and the NAHB Silver Best 50+ Remodeled by the National Associated of Home Builders. Their work has also earned them features in the Baltimore Business Journal and the Baltimore Sun. The list of accomplishments is not surprising for Marks, Thomas, which was founded in 1967. In the last half century, they’ve created senior communities, student housing, waterfront housing, and mixed-use projects. The firm’s esteemed list of principals include Tom Liebel, FAIA, LEED Fellow, one of the first 25 LEED Accredited Professionals in the US, and Magda Westerhout, AIA, who joined Marks, Thomas in 1987 and contributes to urban revitalization and other social projects in the city of Baltimore. Recently, Thomas Mark merged with Moseley Architects but will continue to lead office related project.

“While the tools of our craft, the name and size of the firm have evolved and changed, what makes 50 years possible is that there are shared beliefs amongst all of us who have been and who are currently here at Marks Thomas, and one of those beliefs is doing great work for our clients.” – Mark Heckman

Featured Projects

The top floor of the historic Park Plaza Building in Mount Vernon is now home to the offices of Maryland Capital Management. Marks, Thomas created a proposal that included light tones and clean lines, which the firm liked so well that they threw out their previous, more traditional plans. The spaces makes much use of modular glass partitions to allow the whole office to enjoy the views of the top floor, as well as warm, welcoming wooden floors and furniture. The office is light, airy, and modern. Also making usage of Baltimore’s view of the Patapsco is the 1414 Key Highway office. The office inhabits 12k square feet on the second floor and is LEED Gold certified. Marks, Thomas’ creative use of translucent panels, an open floor plan, bamboo flooring and wall finish, and recycled carpet tiles has turned this once-dark industrial space into a brighter workplace.

2
CannonDesign

Architects:
Will Cannon, Sr.
Lee Coyle
Michael Glaros

Awards:
Interior Design Magazine Top 15 US Interior Firms,
Architect 50 No. 16 Top Design Firms,
Building Design + Construction Top 25 Office Design Firms

Address:
250 W Pratt Street #2100, Baltimore, MD 21201

Contact:
410-234-1155 |
info@cannondesign.com

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About CannonDesign

Will Cannon, Sr. founded a one-man architecture shop in Niagara Falls, NY, a whole century ago. Today, CannonDesign works in 15 offices worldwide, made up of a talented team of architects, engineers, and builders with a services list that includes construction, interior design, lighting design, and sustainability services. CannonDesign has been named one of the Top 15 US Interior Firms by Interior Design Magazine and No. 16 of the Top Design Firms by the Architect 50. Fast Company considers CannonDesign as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Architecture Firms in the World. Building Design + Construction gave the firm a well-earned place on the list of Top 25 Office Design Firms. This is just a taste of the 500 design awards that CannonDesign has been recognized for within the past 15 years alone. The Baltimore branch is led by Lee Coyle, AIA, LEED AP, and Michael Glaros, AIA, LEED AP, both of whom have worked on the construction of the University of Maryland’s Cole Fieldhouse.

Featured Projects

CA Ventures first found success operating on student living environments. They wanted the design of their headquarters to reflect and leverage that student connection. CannonDesign attempted to capture the spirit of higher education, while taking design notes from college campus environments. The effects of this decision can be seen down to the floor plan, which operates similarly to a campus plan. The workplace incorporates a biowall to emphasize its green functionality, and authentic materials like wood and exposed brick columns are reminiscent of student facilities. CannonDesign also has an eye for aesthetic. The design of the Metropolitan Capital Bank engenders a feeling of stability in its clientele with lines reminiscent of Mondrian paintings. The firm was responsible for updating the aesthetic while also maintaining the integrity of this national landmark.

1
Gensler

Architects:
James Wallace

Awards:
Greater Baltimore Area Top Five Interior Design Firms,
Top 50 Fortune 500 Companies

Address:
1 East Pratt Street, Suite 202, Baltimore, MD 21202

Contact:
410-539-8776 |
info@gensler.com

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About Gensler

Earlier this year, Gensler was named one of the top five interior design firms in the greater Baltimore area, but their reach extends far beyond Charm City’s borders. Their $.17B in billings in 2016 was the result of 3,500 clients across the world. The firm is included in the top 50 Fortune 500 companies and is one of the top 10 technology companies in the United States. The Baltimore office’s managing director and principal is James Wallace, AIA, LEED AP, who specializes in the design of high-security facilities, whether for a government agency or any other group with a need for security. The firm’s projects have been featured in publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Urban Land, Curbed, and the New York Times. Their daunting list of recognitions spans the last decade and includes accolades from Popular Science, the Interior Design magazine, the AIA, Building Design + Construction, and the International Interior Design Association. With their body of work, Gensler is here to not only stay but flourish.

Featured Projects

While the firm has offered its services to big clients like About.com and Airbnb, designing the offices of the household brands, the local work being done by its Baltimore branch is just as indicative of Gensler’s expertise. The T. Rowe Price Owings Mills Building in Baltimore does away with individual offices and creates central gathering zones to encourage collaboration. Standing stations, glass walls, and intricately arranged furniture make this a truly contemporary design. The use of T. Rowe’s brand color is consistent across the office. Gensler’s work for Johns Hopkins Medicine International follows suit with an open-room style workspace, including low partitions between cubicles and offices with full-glass walls. The design also adds in views of the water and sustainable design.

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