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karen martin


karen martin

4305 knox rd apartment a college park, MD 20740


kmarti12@umd. edu

artist’s statement

architectural projects

drawings and sketches

This portfolio has been developed during my undergraduate studies at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland. My artwork is where my mind and my hand meet. It is nearly impossible to tell which is working first and which is working faster. My thoughts are materialized in messy pen sketches, symbols and movements. I believe that at the core of all successful architecture there lies a sketch of overlapping bubbles and intersecting lines that explains it all. I believe that design is solving a problem, and with that always in mind, I find myself always beginning from a strong sense of logic. This is where I am most comfortable, satisfying for example the initial requirements and program. In design, it is beneficial to take both steps backward and forward. My process is never quite linear, but is perhaps looped with tangents. Using my early logical designs, I then pull from various ideas and string together a cohesive solution. Architecture brings me a twisted sense of fulfillment, because although I proudly achieve a unique design, I can also look upon this with skeptical eyes. It is the plight of all designers, I believe, that we reach a point where we are happy and excited, yet we can never quite be satisfied. There is always something more to be done, and a detail that has not been scrutinized. This is my favorite part of design. I am careful to examine existing conditions. I am eager to use what is available. I do not believe that architecture exists in the black and white sense that it is either an object in the landscape or a hidden piece of the landscape. I approach my designs with the simple sense that it must have a relationship to the landscape, and this relationship is unique from project to project. As a student of architecture I am slowly seeing the full picture of the design process- that it is indeed a process, messy at times, but neverthe-less, the most exciting part. I do not believe I will ever reach a conclusion, but with every iteration and question I ask, I am confidant I am one step closer.

urban dwelling

transformation studies

artist residence

light box

architectural projects

exbox theater

re-establishing the urban grid creation of street facade increasing access to site

Urban Dwelling

Fall 2012 Highlandtown and Greektown, Baltimore Faculty: Ronit Eisenbach, Christopher Pfaeffle

A radial parti allows for the program to fully stretch across the site, creating unique interior and exterior courtyards.The building edges are pulled to the streets, continuing the urban grid. The program along these streets brings a lively atmosphere of shopping and eating. The interior facades are dotted with balconies, juxtaposed to the clean, private screen facade facing the busy streets. The pool terrace and common spaces exist where the buildings spans the light rail system. This provides magnificent views for not only residents but to the greater population of Baltimore.

view from lightrail system

Spring 2012 Faculty: Michael Ambrose, Jason Winters

Transformation Studies Using a wide variety of mediums, including printer paper and foam, I have examined the art of transformation. With bass wood and chipboard, I studied how point becomes line, becomes plane, becomes object. A slight adaption of forms allowed me to create a unique sequence of spaces.

Designing an artist’s residence brought challenges to specify public and private spaces. This artist residence is located on a garden we had previously designed. I found that the existing walls on the site created the opportunity for an unique organizing element, derived from a simple cross parti.

An Artist’s Residence

Fall 2011 Faculty: Brian Kelly, Justin Obringer

With inspiration from the nature, I studied how to organize places of light, places of shadow, and places of darkness using a repetition of


Light Box

Fall 2012 Faculty: Ronit Eisenbach, Christopher Pfaeffle

Fall 2012 Faculty: Ronit Eisenbach, Christopher Pfaeffle

Exbox Theater

This theater is designed to be appraoched from all angles. There is an emphasis on the sequence of movement and threshold, for those both inside and approaching the theater. Large exterior glazing allows this theater to become a beacon of light in the landscape.

the streets of Indonesia

exploration of ocean life

drawings and sketches

pen and ink 2012

The Streets of Indonesia

Exploration of Ocean Life graphite 2009

emphasis on tone and texture study of lineweight


This is a compliation of my work as an undergraduate in the architecture school at the University of Maryland