We are passionate about what we do and what we do is to educate architects and designers to design a more sustainable future and to provide the much-needed leadership to get us there.


Two of the biggest interconnected challenges of our time, how to live sustainably on this planet and how to be effective stewards of the environment, are as much problems for the design professions as they are questions for science and engineering. Sustainability and the environment present challenges that are as broadly cultural as they are technical. Sustainability and the environment are as much the problems of the fine arts, philosophy, the humanities, journalism, business, and of course architects, as they are problems for scientists and engineers.


Architecture is uniquely situated to wrestle with these issues. Architects work collaboratively to engage and synthesize broad bodies of knowledge in the design of solutions to these challenges. “Collaborative Education for a Sustainable Future” is the School’s motto and reflects an aspiration held by our entire community. Architects today must be well-educated critical-thinkers and problem-solvers who possess and can effectively apply highly refined aesthetic and technical knowledge.


Our students’ performance is the most effective measure of our success in sustainable design. For example, in the fall of 2011 a team of 200 Maryland students, faculty and mentors from multiple disciplines designed and built WaterShed  to blend solar energy efficiency and water conservation. They drew their inspiration from the Chesapeake Bay. Panels of experts judged the competing entries on ten dimensions, and WaterShed came in first overall, and placed first in Architecture, Energy Balance and Hot Water. Today we are forming a team to compete in the 2017 US DOE Solar Decathlon, and we are looking to empower a new generation of students to become experts in sustainable design.


But our expertise in sustainable design does not begin and end with the Solar Decathlon. In 2015 and again in 2016, students in the Architecture Program captured national honors in the AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten for Students Design Competition. Likewise in 2014 and 2015, teams of students from the Architecture Program, Real Estate Development, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, competed with other schools internationally and won top honors in the Gerald D. Hines / Urban Land Institute Competition. More recently graduate students working in the Urban Design Studio, developed proposals for Ellicott City, Maryland that are designed not only to reinvigorate business but to deal with the onslaught of rain-water run-off during storm events.  The project was part of the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) developed in the School.  Don't think that the world can change?  Don't believe in natural forces threatening our very existence?  Check out the exciting work by Maryland Architecture students at Restoring Ancient Stabiae a town buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.


So how are we going to get to a sustainable future? That will require great leaders who possess the knowledge and skills to get us there. At the University of Maryland we educate students to become tomorrow’s leaders in architecture and its allied design professions. Our network of leaders in practice is not bound by our geographical location, although the Washington-Baltimore region is perhaps one of the best locales in the nation in which to teach, learn, and practice architecture.


One alumnus who is taking a leadership role in moving us toward a more sustainable future is Carl Elefante, FAIA (B ARCH, ’80). Carl was recently elected 2017 First Vice President / 2018 President-elect of the American Institute of Architects. He is well known for coining the phrase, “The greenest building is one that’s already built.” Carl’s expertise in architecture, sustainability, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse propelled him to capture the attention of architects nation-wide. His ability to analyze and frame problems, articulate clear solutions, and to rally others was part of the reason that Carl won this coveted national position. See for yourself as Carl addressed those assembled at AIA’s 2016 Grassroots event.


Who are the leaders in Gensler, one of the largest American design and architecture firms? The answer is three Terrapins: Joe Brancato, AIA, (B ARCH, ’80) Regional Managing Principal (New York), Jordan Goldstein, AIA, (BS in Architecture, ’94), Regional Managing Principal (Washington, DC), and Kevin Heinly, AIA (M ARCH, ’94) Managing Director, Principal (San Diego). Gensler is one of the global leaders in sustainable design and our graduates are highly sought after to fill positions in this firm as well as many other well-known practices across the nation.


Melanie Hennigan, AIA (BS in Architecture, ’83 / M ARCH, ’87), is President of Grimm + Parker, one of the most highly awarded architecture firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. Melanie combines her passions for architecture with building a community of practitioners that value the balance between work and life commitments. Grimm + Parker has shown that design excellence and a family-friendly workplace go hand in hand. Lisa London, AIA (B ARCH, ‘82) is President and CEO of edifice | solutions, an innovative design-build firm that she built from the ground up specializing in work for the federal government. Both Lisa and Melanie were recent participants in a symposium held at the school titled Women Leading Architecture. Both Melanie and Lisa's firms specialize in delivering sustainable high-performance buildings to their clients. 


But we can’t get there through architecture alone and with leaders simply preaching to the choir. Consider Jacob R. “Jake” Day, a 2004 alumnus of our BS in Architecture Program. During Jake’s senior year he was elected national president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (one of three Maryland Alumni to hold this position). When his term was over Jake studied at Carnegie Mellon University where he received his Master in Urban Design and University of Oxford, where he received a Master degree in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy. Jake returned to his native Salisbury on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he worked as Town Planning Manager and Director of the Center for Towns at the Eastern Shore Conservancy. While he was working with small towns to improve economic conditions and save their fragile heritage, Jake enrolled in the US Army Officer training program and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, in the Maryland Army National Guard. Jake is not afraid of taking on additional responsibilities, in 2013 he was elected by the citizens of Salisbury (the largest city on the Eastern Shore) to the City Council where he served as President. Jake ran in 2015 and won the race for Mayor. One of the major themes that Jake has brought to the citizens of Salisbury is the revitalization of their downtown core while at the same time considering the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise that will likely impact this community on the Wicomico River. Jake is our proud example of the citizen architect who continues the great legacy of the nation’s first leader in this role, Thomas Jefferson.


We invite you to join us on our journey towards a more sustainable and environmentally balanced world. We challenge you to take up the mantle of leadership. Join us in Maryland’s Architecture Program!


Brian Kelly, AIA

Professor and Director

Architecture Program


Keep up to date with the activities in the Architecture Program by vising our calendar.

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The Architecture Program

The Architecture curriculum is structured to expose students to the comprehensive theoretical, historical, technological, professional and social issues that play a role in the design of the built environment. The initial years of the curriculum are designed to provide a solid foundation for an architectural education. First-year studios introduce students to the elements and principles of architectural design, with studio projects that build skills, encourage critical thought and discourse, and serve as a vehicle for the integration of knowledge gained in courses outside of studio.


Maryland's reputation as a leader in design education has been built upon a solid conviction that the intellectual processes of design are inextricably interwoven with and informed by knowledge of building and construction. Maryland has maintained a long-standing tradition of stressing personal competence and excellence in both design and technology.

The Integrated Design Studio (originally called the Comprehensive Design Studio), the gateway semester between the Foundation Studios and the Advanced Graduate Studios, received national recognition in 1995 from the American Institute of Architects Education Honors Program. The AIA award recognizes significant achievement in the formulation, implementation and outcome of architectural instruction.


The Comprehensive Design Studio provides an innovative approach to the study of architectural design. Students explore the relationship between the conceptual and technical aspects of architectural form and its assembly.  Students are simultaneously enrolled in an Advanced Technology course that focuses upon building systems integration. In the studio, the projects are elemental enough to allow students to progress through advanced stages of design development, yet complex enough to require a systematic exploration of building systems. Unique to the Comprehensive Design Studio are the large scale models and drawings that students use to further explore the reality of their design intentions. Through the crafting of a series of large-scale models and the integration of digital media, students gain a vivid impression of the interaction between building elements and their assembly. Throughout this process, students are guided by faculty members whose experience in both design and building have gained national recognition.


The Architecture department's pedagogy is complemented by the faculty's expertise in Urban Design. Relationships between buildings and their urban contexts are thematically woven throughout the curriculum at Maryland. Baltimore, Washington and the Northeast Corridor are a laboratory for the study of urban design. Maryland's faculty, which has gained an international reputation for practice and research in the field, selects projects that illuminate both the historical and contemporary issues of design in an urban environment.


Student and faculty work has been recognized by numerous national awards including an unprecedented number of Charter Awards from the Congress of the New Urbanism (CNU) for student projects, as well as an impressive collection of CNU and American Institute of Architects awards for faculty work. New Urban News ranked the School’s urban design programs one of the top in the nation in 2006, and noted that it was the only program in the country housed with departments of Planning, Preservation and Real Estate Development in one school.


Students enrolled in the Master of Architecture Program can pursue a Certificate in Urban Design. Post-professional degree students can enroll in an advanced Master of Science in Architecture program with a focus in urban design. Experts from government, business and planning, readily available within the region, serve to enrich the studio courses.

Students who wish to explore the heritage of our built environment gain hands-on experience at continuing preservation programs in Cape May, New Jersey, and at Kiplin Hall in England, while earning credit toward a Certificate in Historic Preservation


Students also may enroll in courses offered by the Real Estate Development program, such as: finance, market analysis, land entitlements, property and asset management, construction management and more.


The Masters Thesis is the culmination of graduate studies in architecture. This two-semester individual project begins with background research, site selection and preliminary design in consultation with a faculty committee. The second semester entails an extensive design process that requires students to demonstrate their competence in dealing with issues of context, use, technique and symbolic form. Professionals and academics of national and international acclaim participate in final reviews for thesis projects.