Michael’s lifelong dedication to the medium of landscape and its robust material expression is evident in MVVA’s diverse body of work, including gardens, museums, parks of all sizes, campuses, and urban design. Regardless of size, he strives to bring out the potential for every project to move people and make the world a better place.
As head of one of the country’s leading landscape architecture firms, Michael promotes collaboration, creativity, and the individual talents of his staff through his inclusive working style. Michael provides senior leadership on a wide range of projects, in both the New York and Cambridge offices. Recent examples include the ongoing completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the bold realignment and urban transformation of Toronto’s Don River, and the intimate Monk’s Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Michael continues to lead MVVA’s oversight of all landscape projects on the Princeton University campus, and he is also heading up the design of a waterfront park in Boston to honor Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
As the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Michael has influenced countless students and academic colleagues over the years. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and a Master of Fine Arts in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a registered landscape architect in more than 25 states and in Canada, and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Michael was honored with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Environmental Design in 2003. In 2010, MVVA’s design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was awarded the prestigious Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society of New York, presented to the work of art in a given year that best captures the spirit and energy of New York City. Michael was also the recipient of the 2010 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to the practice of architecture as an art. In 2011, Michael received the ASLA Design Medal.