Michael Sommer

Michael Sommer

Salt Lake City, UT, US



I am committed to developing opportunities for professional growth by applying an interdisciplinary approach to the design of more ecologically-responsible architecture and liveable cities while pursuing architectural registration requirements as well as both LEED BD+C and ND professional accreditation.


“I see the task of architecture as the defense of human experience.”
                                                          - Juhani Pallasmaa

Design Philosophy

Architecture has been a fundamental tool for man to reconcile his placement in the cosmos and our collective memory by asserting order, boundaries, and a point of temporal reference.  Architecture thus expresses, stabilizes, and orients in an otherwise chaotic world.  In order to accomplish this most visceral of human needs, architecture must consequently engage us at our very core; simultaneously providing for our corporeal needs as well as our individual pursuit of transcendence. 

While many of the aspirations we have for architecture engage a resounding pursuit of universality, architecture must ultimately find its expression by responding to the forces of the place, society, and time in which it is created.  The foundation for meaningful and enduring design must be laid firmly in the engagement of site in every design process.  No matter how well constructed or composed, built work that is conceived bereft of contextual consideration will inevitably fail to address the needs of the community for which it is created and be received merely as a commodity. 

Our society has increasingly treated buildings as commodities, as disposable as any other product.  If sustainability measures fail to create resonant architectural spaces, buildings are prone to be placed in landfills prematurely.  Environmentally sound technologies and design should simply be adopted as standard building practices, but we must once again assert beauty and meaning as the primary generators of architectural expression.  The potential for beauty can readily be found in rigorous, skillful and critical design consideration from the level of urban intervention to construction detail.  In order to do so in an increasingly complex and ever-changing world, architects must assert the ability to facilitate design teams and lead interdisciplinary collaborations.

Collaborative environments are a powerful tool in the pursuit of excellence in architectural ideation.  During my time in the MArch program, I had the opportunity to serve as a project manager in multiple collaborative studios dealing with both schematic as well as design development phases of service-oriented architectural projects, art installation works, and urban design proposals located in international as well as domestic contexts.  Each project benefited greatly from the collaboration while I was given the opportunity to further hone my leadership skills through facilitating group charettes, critiques, and meetings as well as delegating tasks in a way that most efficiently utilized the skill sets of each team member.


MBA Vista / The Wild Venturer, Freelance Graphic Designer

Prepared initial sales and marketing materials as well as travel proposals for MBA international travel programs to Africa.

Jun 2009 - current

The University of Utah, BIM Teaching Assistant - Undergraduate Architectural Communications II

Aided in the instruction of students on course software (ArchiCAD), gave critical feedback on project designs, and assisted in evaluation of student work to ensure core competencies in coursework.

Jan 2008 - May 2008

Dave Robinson Architects, Intern Architect

Assisted project architects with the production of construction and presentation documents for firm projects for commercial, warehouse, manufacturing, and government projects.

Jul 2007 - Sep 2007

DesignStream, Inc., Graphic installer, designer, & assistant architectural illustrator

Installed and produced architectural illustrations, perspectives, and peripheral sales and marketing materials for offices, sales centers, and tradeshow display units.

May 2006 - Sep 2006


The University of Utah, MArch, Master of Architecture

Completed with an emphasis in urban design theory as well as critical application of contemporary sustainable design principles and practices.

Design studios and lecture courses included international travel in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria as well as domestic explorations in New Orleans, Louisiana and Utah.

Aug 2007 - May 2009

The University of Utah, Bachelors, B. S. Architectural Studies

Completed core curriculum with an emphasis in qualitative development through foreign and domestic planning theory, law, policy, and procedure.

Aug 2003 - May 2007

The University of Utah, Minor in Urban Planning

Aug 2003 - May 2007


Collective Memorial - Selected Scheme, Other

Selected scheme from a graduate level architectural studio competition. The scheme was a juror's choice for collaborative design development for a mobile architectural installation piece to activate public dialogue and community identity in post-Katrina New Orleans. Studio and competition directed by professor Lisa Henry Benham of the University of Utah's College of Architecure + Planning.


ReBuild Broadmoor New Orleans Community Center Selected Scheme, Other

Selected scheme from a graduate level architectural studio competition. The scheme was a juror's choice for collaborative design development for an adaptive reuse of an existing community center in the Broadmoor district of New Orleans, Louisiana after the devastation of Hurrican Katrina. The yielded scheme was gifted to the Broadmoor Improvement Association as part of the studio's NEA grant and has enabled the non-profit community organization to secure the lease of the building for the next 100 years from the city of New Orleans. Studio and grant directed by professor Lisa Henry Benham of the University of Utah's College of Architecure + Planning.


Kennecott Scholar - Architecture Recipient, Scholarship


Excellence in Design Award, Award

Recognition granted for superior completion of architectural installation at the Univeristy of Utah's College of Architecture + Planning.


Univeristy of Utah Honors at Entrance, Scholarship