Architecture Joins the Elite List of “Fearless” Courses


Three architecture courses have made the inaugural roster of Fearless Ideas Courses for the spring 2015 Semester by the University of Maryland’s Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The elite list of 15 courses, plucked from 30 proposals by an interdisciplinary campus committee, represent the best and most innovative learning laboratories on campus. Traditional classroom exercises, they are not; whether tackling socio-economic change through public art or collaborating with a community to revitalize a downtown, these courses stretch the boundaries of critical thinking and creative solutions in unexpected ways.


The MAPP courses that made this year’s list are:


Arch 270: Design in Practice

Taught by Professor Madlen Simon, this class introduces students to creative design thinking in a very collaborative way. This past semester’s project challenged student teams to create chairs out of three cardboard flats, using no adhesive or fasteners. Students could then either develop a proposal to take their product to market or learn about creating architectural environments with digital tools. 


Arch 430/407: Architecture and Urbanism Vertical Studio

This graduate/undergraduate blended class, taught by Assistant Professors Luis Quiros and Jana Vandergoot, explores relationships between cultural, social and ecological systems in the built environment through a real-world project. This year’s studio in Salisbury, Md., where students are collaborating with the community to revitalize the downtown area, is also serving as a beta test for the University’s new Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS). 


ARCH 471/ARTT 438O–Making Place: Public Art and Design

Overseen by Associate Professor Ronit Eisenbach and Professor Gerrit Knaap, the course harnesses the talents of UMD students in creating vibrant, engaging communities through art and design in the face of social, economic, political and environmental change. Working with a variety of communities—most recently the Silver Spring community of Long Branch—students are able to explore how creative placemaking can enhance and catalyze community revitalization.


Along with the recognition of being named a Fearless Ideas Course comes a $5000 award and a designation as an Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AIE) Distinguished Fellow. Each course will run at least once a year for the next three years. 


To see the full roster of Fearless Ideas Courses, click here. 

Posted on April 1, 2014 by Maggie Haslam