“This new building is a symbol of how we are taking responsibility for preparing and empowering the next generation of political leaders and global citizens,” UMD President Darryll J. Pines said during the meeting. event, which also included special guests, Bill Ferguson, President. of the Senate of Maryland; Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates; and Ethan Brown MPM ’97, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat.
Opened this fall, the building brings together students, faculty, and other experts in interconnected fields designed to foster world-changing discourses and discussions. The Agora, for example, is named after the central gathering place and marketplace of ideas in Athens, often considered the birthplace of democracy, while the building’s deliberative classroom is a contemporary version of a classic parliamentary debate.
“The building is designed to place students and faculty in practitioner spaces and to nurture the future political leaders who will shape the world,” said School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr. “With its high-tech classrooms and collaborative meeting spaces, students are in the best place to launch their careers and pursue the public good.”
The location of the building is also considered, at the crossroads of “the city and the dress”: Built in the gentle slope north of Chapel Field, the establishment faces this green space, as well as the lively corridor of the Baltimore Avenue and the Rossborough Inn and overlooks the McKeldin Mall. The next purple light rail line will pass in front of the building, reinforcing its role as a welcoming entrance to campus.
The 70,000 square foot building, made possible through support from private donors in partnership with the state and the university, also brings the School of Public Policy community together under one roof for the first time in 40 years. ‘story; its offices, centers and classrooms were spread over five sites across campus. Orr said the new hub, with its multifunctional and high-tech spaces, “will dramatically improve the student experience.”
He and architect Irena Savakova M.Arch. ’95 from the Leo A Daly Company explains how the building is, as she put it, “a link to the past and a window to the future”.