Madlen Simon AIA is an experienced architect, educator and scholar dedicated to preparing students for professional careers in architecture. In her 35 years in professional practice, Professor Simon has developed a keen interest in innovative education for the next generation of architects. She brings to architectural education both design expertise and scholarly reflection on practice. Professor Simon entered academia in 1991, after 14 years practicing architecture in two world-renowned architecture firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates, as well as leading her own firm, Simon Design. She joined the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland in 2006 after 14 years at Kansas State University.
Professor Simon's scholarship, research, and creative practice are in the area of design - design thinking, design education, design of buildings, and the application of design to issues such as sustainability and community health. Simon's research on the development of the architecture profession in the United States gives her the perspective to view contemporary practice in comparison to historical models. This work has been recognized by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the pre-eminent foundation supporting research in the discipline of architecture, and by the Kansas Arts Commission, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her study of the potential for urban redevelopment to reduce obesity, SLIM DOWNtown, was funded by the Sunflower Foundation of Kansas. Simon was co-Principal Investigator on WaterShed, the University of Maryland's first prize-winning entry into the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011.
Professor Simon's broad experience in architectural practice has ranged in scale from master planning to the design of furniture. She continues to practice as a principal of Simon Design. Professor Simon is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and has served as president of her local chapter.
Professor Simon teaches architectural design studios to both graduate and undergraduate students, including the Comprehensive Studio that integrates design and advanced technology, and Topical Studios on topics including sustainable building skin and cross-cultural design. She has taught Professional Practice, History of Contemporary Architecture, History and Theory of Urbanism, and an Honors course on Sustainability. Simon currently teaches the graduate ARCH 601Topical Studio: Bridging the Gap, ARCH 406 Graduate Architectural Design Studio Iii, and an undergraduate i-Series/Scholarship in Practice (General Education) course, ARCH 270 Design in Practice, that has been designated a Fearless Ideas course. She offers workshops on Design Thinking.