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A Campus Legacy, by Design

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Architect Alums Shaped 25+ UMD Buildings—and Counting

Via TERP / By Maggie Haslam

For three decades, alums from UMD’s Architecture Program have revisited the familiar grounds of College Park, lured not by basketball season or Maryland Day, but by the rare privilege to make a permanent contribution to campus.

Since Tom Eichbaum ’74 designed Van Munching Hall in the early 1990s, Terps have mapped out more than 25 buildings on Maryland’s campus, not including countless additions and renovations, projects throughout Greater College Park and over a dozen master plans.

Their inspiration has come from unlikely sources: a memory or milestone, a moment in history, nature, even a vexing challenge. Here, we get behind the bricks-and-mortar to learn what drove the design of some of Maryland’s most iconic spaces—and a few on the way.

School of Public Policy Building: Irena Savakova M.Arch ’95

When conceiving the design for the new home of UMD’s School of Public Policy, Savakova turned to the birthplace of public discourse: Athens’ Ancient Agora. The modern descendant now under construction along Baltimore Avenue will convene students, faculty, visitors and campus events within a carefully choreographed series of spaces that add up to a place where the leaders of today can engage the change-makers of tomorrow. “You have to go back to the roots of how public policy came to be; where this diverse group of people would engage in discussions about how best to orchestrate the public good,” says Savakova. “From an architectural standpoint, the agora allows for these types of conversations to occur, all while coexisting with the practice of the marching band, the activity of Baltimore Avenue, the ringing of the Chapel Bell. I want people who visit this space to get a sense of something really special.” Spaces are intentionally multifunctional, with the flexibility to host public events, accommodate classes, even mimic the debate and deliberation staging of the United Nations. A fourth-floor terrace, interconnected with library space, was conceived after Dean Robert Orr expressed his desire for a special area for speakers to engage with students. 

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