Building Community and Sharing Space at SMCM

Mentor: Joe Lucchesi

Abstract: This project analyzes the St. Mary’s College of Maryland campus buildings and landscape through a lens of systemic oppression; it reveals how race, class, and gender can be read in the built environment and investigates the potential for the SMCM campus to create an inclusive community. The project is divided into two parts: a historical analysis and a contemporary use of space study. The historical analysis mines the campus’ history to understand colonial biases in the institution’s founding and the campus’ architecture. Beginning with the college’s founding as St. Mary’s Female Seminary in 1839, the historical analysis investigates the campus’ Colonial Revival architecture, its specific designations of spaces for specific groups of people, and its continual silencing of the histories of people of color. The use of space study uses a survey to understand how administration, faculty, staff, and students use the campus differently, and if race and gender can be read in how space is used contemporarily. Further, the survey investigates what members of the SMCM community find most attractive in the spaces where they choose to spend their leisure time, and concludes with suggestions for how future spaces on campus can better meet the needs and wants of the campus community.