For 16 glorious weeks (January through May 2011) ten Maryland architecture students traveled in and around England, Scotland and Wales, taking advantage of all that the United Kingdom had to offer. These students, fortunate enough to be selected as part of the School's spring semester study abroad program, spent their days studying, drawing, designing, visiting, and otherwise, thoroughly involving themselves in the culture of those places.
It is amazing how much of Great Britain can be experienced when a tight, well-conditioned and thoroughly focused team of students are gathered (held captive) into diesel vans. Such was the case in this adventure of dodging in and out of medieval villages, "new towns," and 21st-century cities, while encountering landmark cathedrals, castles, palaces and phenomenal landscapes along the way!
Home base for the team of students for 10 of the 16 weeks was the University of Maryland's Study Centre at Kiplin Hall in North Yorkshire, the ancestral home of the Lords Baltimore, founders of the Maryland Colony. Kiplin Hall's Study Centre renovation project is a terrific success, and provided an appropriate home away from home for the 10 students, the faculty/resident director and guest critics. The remaining six weeks were divided between sorties to Scotland, Wales, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Manchester, Liverpool and, of course, London to name only a few of the venues.
Professor Emeritus Karl Du Puy, AIA, led the invasion and was responsible for evaluating the students' work in three courses. The students' curriculum included: Architectural Design Studio IV, Architectural Technology IV, and British Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape, a seminar in which the students researched the sites they were to visit, led discussions about those sites as they traveled, and spent time sketching relevant "places" along the way. Papers were written, sketches and observations were completed on site (with great success, it should be noted), and discussions were made more relevant because of the on-site associations, which were the trip's raison d'être. In short, there is no substitute for direct, first had experience of "site" visits and Great Britain 2011 provided just that!