Campus Life

Distinguished Alum, Renowned Architect Harold L. Adams Joins Texas A&M Faculty

September 5, 2018

Harold L. Adams will join the Texas A&M College of Architecture faculty as a professor of the practice. (College of Architecture)
Harold L. Adams will join the Texas A&M College of Architecture faculty as a professor of the practice. (College of Architecture)
By Sarah Wilson, Texas A&M University College of Architecture

World-renowned architect and Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus Harold L. Adams ’61, who has worked with a United States president, holds elite international licenses and earned innumerable accolades for his work, will join the Texas A&M College of Architecture faculty in the Fall 2018 semester as a professor of the practice.

“Adams, a catalyst to enrich the college’s intellectual climate and educational experience, will raise the national and international statures of our faculty and students,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture. “He will inspire collaboration in multidisciplinary scholarly endeavors and strengthen efforts in teaching, application and engagement.”

Adams made a name for himself as an architect just four months after earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Texas A&M in 1962, moving to Washington D.C. to work with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy on federal building projects. Adams was later the project manager for the president’s gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.

As chief executive officer and chairman of RTKL Associates in Baltimore, he grew the one-office firm to a global practice with projects in more than 60 countries and a reputation for design expertise.

During his time at RTKL, the firm’s projects included rebuilding the Pentagonafter the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States Capitol Visitor Center, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington D.C., the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a Baltimore major league baseball stadium that began a retro-ballpark trend.

The American Institute of Architects awarded Adams, who retired in 2003, with two of its highest honors, the Kemper Medal, for his leadership in the profession, and membership in its College of Fellows. He was also honored with the Society of American Military Engineers’ inaugural Max O. Urbahn Medal for achievement in architecture and has been inducted into The National Academy of Construction.

Adams was one of the first United States citizens to hold a first class Kenchikushi license, an architecture license awarded by Japan’s Ministry of Construction, and is also a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Also an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Architecture, Adams has a long record of service to the college, frequently visiting campus to lecture and meet with student groups.

He has sought opportunities to expand the college’s interdisciplinary research and teaching culture across the university. For that effort, Adams endowed professorships in each of the college’s four departments with a focus on interdisciplinary projects. Professorship holders, Adams and college administrators, organized the Harold L. Adams Interdisciplinary Charrette for Undergrads, a highly successful, weekend-long multidepartment design competition held in February 2018 to overcome the silo effect in academia that tends to isolate students and faculty within their own departments.

“Harold is a true champion of the college,” said Dawn Jourdan, executive associate dean. “He has been instrumental in invigorating the interdisciplinary activities that bring all the college’s students and faculty together. We welcome the infusion of his ideas and energy into the college in this formal capacity.”

He serves on the Texas A&M Chancellor’s Council, Texas A&M’s Institute for Advanced Study, on the College Development Advisory Council, the College of Architecture Dean’s Advisory Board and the Construction Industry Advisory Council, where he helped promote the development of a leadership minor.

Adams has also bestowed a number of gifts to the college, including the Harold L. Adams ’61 Endowed Scholarship and a recent $100,000 donation for the new Janice L. and Harold L. Adams ’61 Presentation room, which will bring college departments together in interdisciplinary and diversity efforts.

This article by Sarah Wilson originally appeared in ArchOne

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