The University of Maryland has a new landmark architectural presence in its new School of Public Policy building.
The building’s design concept is rooted in the spatial typology of the ancient Agora, the birthplace of democratic thought and public discourse. The cascading architectural form follows the natural slope of Chapel Field to form an edge to one of the signature open spaces on campus and shape a carefully orchestrated sequence of interior spaces.
Entrances on the east and west sides connect to a large, communal atrium designed to encourage chance meetings, informal study, and interdepartmental collaboration. On the building’s east side is Do Good Plaza, a shared outdoor event space that establishes a new gateway into campus. Brick cladding and white columns connect visually with Lee Hall to the north while the building’s sculpted massing frames Rossborough Inn to the northeast and memorial Chapel to the southwest.
The four-story building brings together the School’s more than 90 faculty members and over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students and serves as the headquarters for the Do Good Institute, a campus-wide hub for social innovation, philanthropy, and nonprofit leadership. The facility will also include five instructional spaces ranging in size from 25 to 150 seats, a library, and a rooftop terrace.
The School of Public Policy is expected to achieve LEED Gold rating with biophilic design elements that will connect occupants to nature, reduce the building’s environmental footprint, and provide healthy and productive spaces for work and study.