Do we really need more architects in Maine?

As a professor of architecture in the state of Maine’s only professional architecture program, this is a question I am often asked.

The answer is clear to me: of course we do. After all, training the next generation of architects in Maine is what I have spent the past 10 years of my life doing. But if I pause and consider the question, I understand why it is being asked, and more importantly, recognize that it needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed not only so that those asking can understand the real world benefits architects can offer to their communities, but also because the answer helps focus the work we are doing at UMA Architecture: training Maine’s next generation of architecture professionals.

architects blog pic

UMA President Glenn Cummings and architecture student Matt Holland
talk at the recent opening of the Annual UMA Juried Architecture
Student exhibit at the Danforth Gallery.


So, why do we need more architects in Maine?

We need more architects because architects bring more to a building than life-safety codes or keeping winter at bay.

Architects ensure that your new elementary school not only has spaces for learning but also fosters curiosity and exploration in small children. Architects make certain that your new hospitals support doctors and nurses in treating the sick but also understand that the very spaces of that hospital, along with natural sunlight, can actually speed the healing process. Architects ensure your new homes will stand for decades but also that they nurture your growing family.

Along with my colleagues and UMA administration, we believe strongly that bringing professional architectural education to Maine is a key part of a strong future for all of us. Indeed, we have spent the past four years focused on building Maine’s only professional degree in architecture.

We understand that an architectural program does not, and cannot, completely prepare a student to practice architecture; architecture is too complex and too involved to be covered completely in the classroom. Architectural education is only the first step of what an architect needs to know. At UMA Architecture, we are the foundation of our students’ future careers. We prepare them for the second phase of their architectural education: working in the field.

A young designer needs hands-on experience working in the field working with other architects, collaborating with clients and consultants, in order to truly understand what it means to bring a work of architecture into reality. Our goal is to best prepare our students to become part of Maine’s professional design community, to contribute to their respective communities, and to help create a built-environment responsive to the needs and aspirations of our state.

At UMA Architecture, we know architecture is a force for good and a force for positive change. We need more architects in Maine because as Mainers we deserve spaces that uplift our spirits, encourage our successes, and support our aspirations. UMA Architecture is proud to be training aspiring architects because we know that once they graduate they will work with our communities, our towns, and our citizens to bring about a better Maine.