Amy Gardner, Director

Associate Professor Amy E. Gardner, AIA LEED-AP has been on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 1989, and is a registered architect in the District of Columbia and Maryland. As Director of CUSP, Gardner's focus is on creating cross-generational and academic-industry partnerships, and developing design and research practices necessary for creating enduring, ecologically-advanced buildings and communities.

Gardner is the lead faculty adviser and principal investigator for the University of Maryland’s WaterShed entry to the 2011 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and was the same for UM’s successful 2007 Solar Decathlon entry, LEAFHouse. She was the founding coordinator of the UM Architecture Program's Comprehensive Studio and Advanced Technology—a curricular innovation accorded multiple honors since 1995 including: the AIA Education Honor Award; an ACSA Teaching Award; a Lilly Center for Teaching Excellence Award; and an NCARB Prize for the Creative Integration of Teaching and Practice in the Academy.

Garth Rockcastle, Project Leader

Garth Rockcastle, FAIA, is Professor of Architecture at the University of Maryland. In 1981, he co-founded the architectural firm of Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, Ltd. in Minneapolis. His most recent accomplishments include: an adaptive reuse of a famed Robert Venturi building in Philadelphia for Drexel University’s College of Media Arts and Design; a masterplan and phase I design for expansions and renovations to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design; the Carleton College Interdisciplinary Art Lab, an adaptive reuse of a former middle school; and the new University of Minnesota Regis Center for Art.

Rockcastle has maintained a robust academic career in parallel with his practice. From 1978 to 2004, he was a professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota. From 2004 to 2010, he served as the Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Maryland. He is also a consultant and peer advisor to both the US General Services Administration and the Federal Reserve Bank to assist those agencies with architect selection and design review processes.

Cari Varner, Project Leader

Cari Varner is a PhD student in the University of Maryland’s Urban and Regional Planning and Design program. In 2009, Varner was selected as an Emerging Leader in Sustainable Design by the Design Futures Council.

Prior to beginning her PhD at Maryland, Varner was the Assistant Director of the Carl Small Town Center, a community design center at Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture.

Peter James, Project Leader

Peter James is a student in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Maryland. He participated in the ARCH601 design studio that helped kick off UM's 2011 Solar Decathlon effort, and remains involved as a Communications student team leader. He has collaborated on various projects in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, including book design for the Dean's Legacy Series and exhibition design for the Kibel Gallery.

Prior to graduate school, James was Communications Manager at the National Council for Interior Design Qualification in Washington, DC.