Michael Murphy

Design Critic in Architecture and Urban Planning and Design

Michael Murphy is the Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design collective with offices in Boston; Poughkeepsie; and Kigali, Rwanda. As a designer, writer, and teacher, his work investigates the social and political consequences of the built world. Murphy advocates for a new empowerment that calls on architects to consider the power relationships of their design decisions, while simultaneously searching for beauty and meaning. Since MASS's beginnings, its portfolio of work has expanded to more than a dozen countries and spans the areas of health care, education, housing, urban development, and more recently, food systems, indigenous sovereignty, and the public monument.

MASS's work has been recognized and published widely. Most recently, MASS received the 2020 Wall Street Journal Magazine Innovator Award, 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 Architecture Award. Michael’s 2016 TED talk has reached over a million views, and was awarded the Al Filipov Medal for Peace and Justice in 2017. MASS's project, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice was named the single greatest work of American architecture in the 21st century.

Murphy has taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and University of Michigan, Taubman College. He is from Poughkeepsie, New York, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Chicago.