Architecture and the Distribution of Power

Thu, Nov 15    1:30pm

Michael Murphy is the Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, an architecture, and design collective with offices in Boston, Kigali, and Poughkeepsie NY. As a designer, writer, and teacher, his work investigates the social and political consequences of the built world. Murphy’s research and his writing advocates for a new empowerment in architecture that calls on architects to consider the power relationships of their design decisions, while simultaneously searching for beauty and meaning.

Since MASS’s beginnings with the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda, their portfolio of work has expanded to over 15 different countries and span the areas of healthcare, education, housing, urban development, and more recently, food systems, indigenous sovereignty, and the public monument. Their consistent thematic thread surrounds how architecture can be a tool to reveal the hidden narratives of our social structure, and they seek partnerships and projects that are too looking at structural systems and how to reconstruct them.

MASS’s work has been recognized globally and published widely. Most recently, MASS has been recognized as recipients of the 2018- J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, the 2018 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, and the 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice has been featured in over 400 publications including Architectural Digest, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Washington Post, and 60 Minutes. A recent architectural review by Mark Lamster of Dallas Morning News called the memorial “the single greatest work of American architecture of the 21st century”. In its first three months of opening, the memorial has attracted over 100,000 people.

Michael is from Poughkeepsie, NY and earned a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Chicago. He currently teaches at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation

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