Good architectural design contains a commitment to both an attractive, energy efficient lay-out and harmony with the environment. The UMCP School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation use its regional location for hands-on experiences by its students. Located near the nation’s capital and the post-industrial city of Baltimore, the environmental challenges are unique. The Appalachian Mountains border one side, while the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean border the other. The communities are diverse, the population explosion has been expansive, and the area is filled with historic resources.
It is the mission of the school, its students and alumni to work within the quality of the environment for the purposes of promoting social justice, cultural value, resource conservation and economic opportunity.
The Humble Beginnings of the UMCP School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation is a relatively recent addition to University of Maryland (UMD) academic studies. Founded in 1967, its first dwelling was the adaptation of a WWII temporary building. At that time, there were no professional architectural programs in the state. Before its doors had opened, there were fifty-seven students waiting for classes to start in the fall. Because of the immediate initial interest, the first dean, John W. Hill, proposed that the program should be initially offered as a five year undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor of Architecture professional degree.
By 1972, the school moved into a new building on the UMCP campus, where it resides today. The Bachelor of Architecture program had received full accreditation. An accredited Master of Community Planning degree had been established in the School of Social Work and Community Planning. In 1980, the certificate for Historic Preservation had been established.
By the year 2000, architecture, community planning and historic preservation were combined into one school; the current University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Degree studies include Master of Architecture, Master of Community Planning, Master of Historic Preservation, Master of Real Estate Development and Ph.D. in Urban Regional Planning and Design. In 2007, the University of Maryland placed second in the world for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon for the entry LEAF House.
University of Maryland College Park Architectural Studies
Modern architecture faces two relevant issues; sustainable living on the planet and effectively working with the environment to minimize the impact of development. Students of architectural studies at UMD use critical thinking, problem solving and technical innovation to create designs that are beautiful as well as having practical use.
The reuse and recycling of existing buildings are among the challenges of modern architecture. A 2012 thesis prize was granted to UMCP architectural student, Anthony Pizzo for designing an agricultural incubator from the remains of a naval warehouse. A collaborative effort by faculty and students won first place in the 2011 United States Soar Decathlon for its design, “Water Shed”. The design blended solar energy efficiency with water conservation.
The Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland
With its close proximity to various diverse communities, the UMD Urban Studies and Planning Program work intimately on a community level. Internship exposes students to a wide range of contexts at the national and international level, including federal, state and local governments, private consulting firms, and a number of innovative community based organizations.
For many undergraduates, the Urban Studies and Planning Program is an end goal. The graduate program attracts students from a wide variety of academic disciplines, such as the social sciences, arts and humanities and the physical sciences. Their commitment is to address the prevalent issues facing metropolitan areas within and outside the United States.
University of Maryland Preservation Studies
A preservationist must be sensitive to the cultural and historical significance of the landscape, monuments and buildings entrusted to their care. Historic preservation is a multi-disciplinary study, requiring cooperation within the public and private sector and the incorporation of many fields, including architecture, social sciences, humanities, building trades, law, economics and art history.
With many historical resources within the Washington/Baltimore region, the UMCP Preservation program is in an advantageous location. While enjoying relationships with a number of prominent preservation organizations, it also receives the support of guest lecturers from leading professionals in the field.
From its humble beginnings, the University of Maryland College Park School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation have become a progressive field, with an eye to the future of healthy communities and a sustainable earth.