Working the Problem

MICA Faculty Part of Nonprofit Whose Collaboration with City High School is a Leading Example of Urban Sustainability

With the acceleration of climate change, solutions are needed more than ever. Specifically, communities need to address how buildings — which account for half of human carbon emissions — are maintained and constructed. Baltimore’s Carver House Project, which is finding pathways to make existing buildings more efficient, is becoming a national flagbearer of sustainability.

The Carver House project is a collaborative effort to turn a longstanding rowhouse into a net-zero-emission home. Key players include Requity, a local nonprofit, Carver Vocational-Technical High, Maryland’s oldest trade school of its kind, and the Career and Technical Education Department of Baltimore City Public Schools. Timmy Aziz, faculty in Architectural Design at MICA, is part of the team at Requity.

The idea is to augment existing vocational education at Carver with an interdisciplinary, energy-efficient building construction curriculum. With the rowhouse as a learning lab, Carver’s high school students are now able to apply building science construction skills and knowledge gained in class to hands-on renovation work at the rowhouse. Through Aziz, MICA students studying Architectural Design have been involved as well, providing drawings and architectural visualizations used as the high school students learned to build a wall and floor using passive design.

The ongoing project has been such a success already that Maryland Governor Wes Moore, along with White House national climate adviser Ali Zaidi, visited the site earlier this year — it served as the backdrop when Moore announced that the state is joining President Biden’s National Building Performance Standards Coalition, a group of state and local governments committed to setting building codes that reduce emissions and improve equity.