PEOPLE'S CHOICE WINNER
Michael Marshall of Michael Marshall Design
University of the District of Columbia Student Center
The University of the District of Columbia, the District’s only public higher ed institution, opened its Student Center in 2016, the first new campus building in 40 years. It’s the centerpiece of a 10-year renovation aimed at establishing the university as a model of sustainability, as 1 of only 2 LEED Platinum student unions nationwide when it opened. It serves students from all eight wards of DC, opening a new chapter of quality, access and affordability for higher education in the nation’s capital.
About Michael Marshall
MMD president Michael Marshall has completed projects in DC and beyond, including Howard Theatre, UDC’s Student Center, Chuck Brown Memorial, DC public schools, DC’s Entertainment & Sports Arena and currently, a new HQ for Bread for the City. His work has been accepted into the architectural archives of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and recognized by AIA, ULI, and NOMA. He received a Masters degree from Yale and Bachelor’s from Catholic University.
How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?
I was a young boy when I first saw my first set of blueprints. My friend’s father was a contractor. As a child I loved to draw. When I saw the blueprints and my friend said an architect made them it was then I realized maybe that’s what I could do.
What do you do?
I am a designer. I create experiences and advance communities, helping people through the built environment. That is my passion.
What excites you in the work you do?
Creating places that are meaningful to communities and inspire inclusivity and opportunity. Much of the work we do in DC brings amenities -- in work, in education, in culture -- to communities that have been underserved.
Who or what inspires you professionally?
I lived in DC during the 1960s riots and saw first-hand the physical and emotional destruction. To be part of the renaissance of our city, working on projects that have inspired opportunity and access for today and for the future is an honor.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?
Designing the UDC Student Center. I began studies there in 1975 when it was a 2-year school. It was the first time I met professional people of color; my professor helped me buy my first suit. To design this for future generations was a privilege.