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Professor Michael Ryan

Great day with my students at Sagrada Familia

I came to Anne Arundel as a lost student from a high school in the county. I did not know what I wanted to do, but was always interested in creative endeavors. I liked putting things together and figuring out how to make them work. The community college offered our architecture program and after the first week I went from not wanting to go to college because of my negative high school experience, to wanting to become an architect (my parents were ecstatic!). AACC had provided me with a positive learning experience. Upon graduating from AACC’s architecture program, I transferred to Catholic University in Washington D.C. where I obtained my Bachelors and Master’s degrees in architecture. 

I then interned, passed the state licensing exam, and worked in the profession for many years. I started teaching part-time in 1984, became a member of the full-time faculty in 1989 and then eventually chair of the department. Teaching became something very natural to me and I really enjoyed sharing my expertise with others. It is so incredibly satisfying to see our students enter our program, some lost as I was, with no idea of the talents they have hidden, graduate with successful futures. Our program and college have allowed many students like me fulfill their dreams.

I am interested in green/sustainable design and have incorporated this into our Environmental Systems class and Architectural Studio 2. I believe in the use of technology, but not at the expense of drawing and building models by hand. I believe students have to take an active responsibility for their learning and go beyond the expectations of their professors. I also firmly believe that some of the best learning occurs outside the classroom, which is one reason I started the department’s travel study program.  We now offer trips to European destinations each summer as unique, exciting and highly effective ways to explore our world and earn credits toward you degree.

Beyond teaching, I enjoy running my own small architectural practice. This allows me to satisfy my passion for design and keep current in the field. I also enjoy many outdoor activities such as skiing, water skiing, boating, biking, hiking and traveling.

  • Credentials:
    A.A., Architectural Technology, Anne Arundel Community College
    B.S. Arch, Catholic University of America
    M. Arch, Catholic University of America
    Licensed Architect, State of Maryland
    Nationally Certified, NCARB
    Certified Construction Specifier
    Certified Construction Contract Administrator
    Member Tau Beta Pi
  • Professional Experience:
    I have worked in firms on projects that have ranged from simple residential additions to high-end retail malls, schools, office buildings and restaurants. My own practice specializes in residential waterfront design. I have also presented at several state and national conferences.
  • Courses Taught:
    Graphic Communications 1 & 2
    Architectural Studios 1 & 2
    Construction Technology 1 & 2
    Construction Documentation
    History of Interior Design
    Environmental Systems for Design
    Computer Applications for Design
    Cost Estimating
  • Favorite Architects:
    Frank Lloyd Wright, Santiago Calatrava, Mies van der Rohe, Corbusier
  • Favorite Designs Visited:
    Ronchamp, Pantheon, Fallingwater, Wingspread, Milwaukee Art Museum, Farnsworth House, Kimball Art Museum, Villa Savoy, Louis Vuitton Foundation  
  • Pet Peeve
    Lying. It is disrespectful and really does not give the other person a lot of credit for having any common sense. Plus sooner or later – you are going to get caught!
  • Quote:
    “It’s all about the local music”