Dual Degree Grads Honored at AIA|DC’s 2021 Thesis Showcase

By Maggie Haslam / Sep 24, 2021

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Rachel Cain Equal Living rendering
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Rachel Cain (M. ARCH and MRED '21) thesis project, "Equal Living: Re-Imagining the Everyday Building Typology in Order to Enhance the Lifestyles of Everyone, With a Specification on the Blind and Visually Impaired" .
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Andrew Mazer final project
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Andrew Mazer (M.ARCH + MCP '21) thesis project, "Free Space: Envisioning the Low Earth Orbit Metropolis"

Two recent graduates of the University of Maryland’s Architecture Program will share their inventive final thesis designs at this year’s AIA DC Thesis Showcase. 2021 graduates Rachel Cain and Andrew Mazer are two of just four emerging professionals selected by AIA|DC’s Emerging Architects Committee from the Washington region asked to share their visions with architects and practitioners at the District Architecture Center on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

Now in its eighth year, the AIA|DC Thesis Showcase aims to bridge the gap between recent graduates and practicing architects by providing a platform for emerging professionals to present their architectural thesis projects to practitioners from around the D.C. area.

"We are so proud to have Rachel and Andrew’s work highlighted by AIA|DC," said Brian Kelly, director of the Architecture Program. "The thought and innovation put into their thesis projects is a glimpse of the outstanding work I know they’ll bring to the profession.”

Meet this year’s winners:

Rachel Cain - Master of Architecture and Master of Real Estate Development
Equal Living: Re-Imagining the Everyday Building Typology in Order to Enhance the Lifestyles of Everyone, With a Specification on the Blind and Visually Impaired

As a teaching assistant in her mother’s deaf, blind and hard of hearing infants and toddlers class, she saw how classroom design impeded the young students’ ability to learn and grow. “This led me to realize, more and more, that the built environment did not favor this demographic when designing,” said Cain. Instead of following her mother’s career path, Cain chose architecture, leveraging her thesis project to design a resource hub for the blind in Baltimore. The universal, multisensory experience is designed to ensure that all feel welcome, a model Cain hopes becomes an industry standard.

 

Andrew Mazer - Master of Architecture and Master of Community Planning
Free Space: Envisioning the Low Earth Orbit Metropolis

Space is having a moment. With the resurgence of space exploration by private businesses and government agencies, Mazer chose to explore sustainable and ethical development opportunities for humankind's final frontier in order to ensure a just and equitable use of untapped resources and potential in outer space. “I think this thesis critically considers long-term implications for the explorations happening today,” he says.