July 15, 2009
Thomas L. Schumacher, professor of architecture at the University of Maryland and fellow of the American Academy in Rome died in the early morning hours of July 15, 2009 after a short battle with brain cancer. Schumacher joined the Maryland faculty in 1984, taught architectural design studios, history and theory courses, and served on the University Senate faculty affairs committee. Schumacher also originated the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation's Rome Program and published numerous books and articles on Italian modern architecture of the 1930's, in particular on the architect Giuseppe Terragni. Schumacher's studies of the Terragni built and unbuilt work focused upon the formal aspects of the work and its relationship to programmatic imperatives, often illustrating the historical foundations of the compositional and typological strategies inherent in the work. Schumacher also published a study of Terragni's Danteum project, a building designed by the architect based upon an interpretation of Dante's Divine Comedy. His major work on Terragni entitled, "Surface and Symbol: Giuseppe Terragni and the Architecture of Italian Rationalism" was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 1991 and has enjoyed wide distribution and translation into Italian and German editions.
A registered architect, Schumacher was also an authority on the architectural facade and pioneered architectural theory focused upon the composition of the vertical surface. To illustrate his theories and teach students about form, technique and program when designing the facade of a building, he used studies based upon works by Renaissance and Baroque architects as well as the Modern masters. His writings have appeared in Architectural Design, The Architectural Review, Oppositions, Journal of Architectural Education, Casabella, Parametro, The Cornell Journal of Architecture, Harvard Design Magazine, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Oz, and The Harvard Architecture Review.
Thomas L. Schumacher was born in New York City on November 7, 1941, the son of Marcia and Joseph G. Schumacher. Raised in the Bronx, Schumacher earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. After a period of professional practice, Schumacher returned to Cornell to pursue a Master of Architecture, studying under Colin Rowe and forming part of the "contextualism" school of thought which was critical of modern urban design. Widely influential, "contextualism" initially attempted to reconcile modern building types with urban forms based on the traditional city. Schumacher's Master of Architecture thesis, done under Rowe's direction, was widely cited as one of the first projects to illustrate the possibilities synthesizing these two aspects of design theory. In 1967 Schumacher was awarded the Rome Prize for architecture and spent 1967-69 at the American Academy in Rome. He has held academic appointments at Princeton University, the University of Virginia, the University IVAU of Venice (Italy), Catholic University, Syracuse University and lectured widely throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 1992-93, Schumacher was named "Distinguished Professor" by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and in 1991 Schumacher returned to Rome as resident architect at the American Academy. Schumacher was also a member of the United States Golf Association.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Sachs of Washington, DC, a brother, Richard Schumacher of Los Angeles, CA, many cousins, nephews and nieces and generations of students and colleagues who learned so much from him.
Matthew J. Bell, Professor
University of Maryland
To honor Tom's love for all things Italian, we plan to establish a Rome study abroad travel scholarship, for students with financial need. If you would like to contribute, please make all checks payable to:
University of Maryland College Park Foundation
Architecture Building #145
College Park, MD 20742
Please be sure to notate: Schumacher Scholarship on the "For" line
For additional information please contact: Jamesia Green at 301-405-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland is home to four academic disciplines: architecture, urban planning, historic preservation and real estate development. Committed to educating its students and community about the importance of sustainability and smart growth, the School practices an interdisciplinary approach to education, research, creative work, and community and professional service. For more information, please e-mail us or call 301.405.8000.
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