Martin Summers

Martin Summers

Lexington, KY, US



Mr. Summers founded PLUS-SUM Studio in September 2012, to pursue work that would allow him to expand his own vision of what is possible in a collaborative practice.  He has 19 years experience in a variety of project types and scales, from small interior renovations to large-scale master planning.  His first project within the new practice was recognized the following year (2013)  by the National AIA and displayed in Washington, D.C. as part of the Emerging Professionals Exhibition.  The competition entry for the Louisville Children's Museum "Grey Matter," was exhibited in the Korea Institute for Youth Facility and Environment (KIYFE) exhibit in Munjeong Samsung Raemian Gallery in Seoul, Korea. Most recently, three projects won International Design Awards (5 total awards) including the top award of "Architectural Design of the Year 14."

The practice seeks to discover opportunities latent within a given problem, in order to evolve possible solutions through an intensive, iterative, problem seeking design process. This process seamlessly moves from design practice to an academic context in order to test opportunities within each realm and progress both forward.  This reflects Mr. Summers' commitment to education and to pursuing conditions that allow for an open and engaging dialogue around contemporary practice and processes.



Martin is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky, College of Design, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1996.  At his Alma Mater he leads advanced studios in urban / architectural design projects and teaches electives in High Performance Building Envelopes and Design / Theory. His research focuses on design pedagogy and processes that leverage digital tools and their potential to address complex issues across multiple scales. These processes use rapid, digital iteration and analysis to engage his studios in issues that affect contemporary practice and bring his experience and expertise to his students.

His current research "Point of Departure," is a multidisciplinary project that was awarded a University of Kentucky 2014 Sustainability Challenge Grant to pursue design and construction of sustainable bus shelters on the UK campus.  Mr. Summers is leading the architectural team of students, in collaboration with Michael Wilson of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and students from Electrical Engineering. In his FA12 and SP13 studios, the work focused on Town and Gown issues where city planning and campus planning produce new areas for synthesis.  His FA11 and SP12 studios focused on 5 Northern Kentucky cities on the banks of the Ohio River across from Cincinnati, Ohio.  These project attempted to define collective opportunities and resources within the broader, trans-border, metropolitan region.  These studios were a continuation of his work on the River Cities project at UK CoD and also part of the SUPRASTUDIO / Culture Now project run by Thom Mayne and Karen Lohrmann at UCLA ( ).  The focus of the larger Culture Now project studied mid-size American cities and how culture could be used as a instigator of urban questions and possible solutions. Martin’s River Cities Project / Henderson studios from FA10 and SP11 were featured in the Rotterdam Biennale, “Making City,” where he led the design and coordination of the physical exhibition of the College of Design’s work (see: INSIDEout ).  

Prior Practice:

Before founding PLUS-SUM Studio, Martin worked for 10 years as a Senior Project Designer at Morphosis Architects. He served as project designer on projects across all scales and took on a leadership role in façade design and construction.  In his last project with the office, he led the design of the atrium and exterior facades for the New Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas Texas (completed in January of 2013.)  Prior to the Museum of Nature and Science, Martin led the exterior façade team working on the design and execution drawings for the Phare Tower in Paris, France.  He also served as the lead project designer on the Cahill Center for Astrophysics at Caltech in Pasadena, California and as the lead project designer for the Caltrans District 7

Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles; an entire city block across from City Hall where urban design issues drove the solution.  Other award winning projects include NYC 2012 Olympic Village design and master planning; Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, Udine Italy; the Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon; the University of Cincinnati Student Recreation Center; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Competition which attempted to re-stitch the existing campus into a coherent whole.

Mr. Summers received his Masters of Architecture II degree from UCLA, where he was a student of Thom Mayne, the 2005 Pritzker Prize Laureate and the founding principal of Morphosis.  While at UCLA, he worked with Mr. Mayne on the publication of LA Now, Volumes 1 and 2 (in which his thesis project “UNIVERcity” appears) that explores the relationship between University Research and Public Policy, in an effort to affect change in large-scale urban development via symbiotic relationships and added value to the given problem.

Prior to attending graduate school, Martin participated in a diverse range of project from residential and worship spaces to sound stages for clients such as Warner Bros., Sony, and DreamWorks SKG while working at HLW Internationals Los Angeles office.  He also worked at several award-winning offices in Lexington, Kentucky (Omni and EOP) before heading to Los Angeles.



PLUS-SUM Studio, Lexington-Fayette, KY, US, Director and Founder

Mr. Summers founded PLUS-SUM Studio in September 2012, to pursue work that would allow him ways to expand his own vision of what is possible in a collaborative practice. He has 16 years experience in a variety of project types and scales, from small interior renovations to large-scale master planning.

Sep 2012 - current

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, US, Assistant Professor of Architecture

Aug 2012 - current

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, US, Sutherland Visiting Professor of Landscape Design

Aug 2010 - Jul 2012

Morphosis Architects, Santa Monica, CA, US, Designer

Feb 2000 - May 2010

HLW, Santa Monica, CA, US, Designer

Jan 1998 - Sep 1999

OMNI Architects, Lexington, KY, US, Designer

Mar 1997 - Jan 1998

EOP Architects, Lexington, KY, US, Designer

Oct 1996 - Mar 1997


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Westwood, CA, US, MArch, Architecture and Urban Design

Aug 1999 - Dec 2000

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, US, BArch, Architecture

Aug 1991 - May 1996


Courthouse Area Design Review Board - Member, Other

Appointed by Mayor Jim Gray and the Urban County Council to serve the City of Lexington on the Courthouse Area Design Review Board. As part of this board Mr. Summers will help to make sure that projects within the Courthouse Overlay District comply with the design review standards while encouraging growth and development. Mr. Summers will bring an extensive design background to this position to encourage exemplary design in the urban core.


AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibition, Award

From the AIA Emerging Professionals website:
"The American Institute of Architects, Center for Emerging Professionals sponsors an annual exhibition of architectural work, art, and designs of emerging architectural professionals across North America. This annual exhibition promotes the compelling work of the rising generation of architects and designers and inspires professionals to continue to mentor and engage the many talented and motivated emerging professionals across the country.

The annual exhibition is presented at AIA National’s headquarters, the American Center for Architecture, in Washington, DC. The exhibition is on display from February through the annual AIA Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference."


University of Kentucky College of Design, Instructor of the Year - 2010-2011, Other

Awarded the honor of Instructor of the Year for the academic year 2010-2011, by peers at the University of Kentucky College of Design.


Areas of Specialization