Photo of Michael Murphy, Co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group.

Building better buildings. Investing in people that build them.

Michael Murphy

Founding Principal and Executive Director
Boston, MA, USA

Michael Murphy is the Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design collective with offices in Boston, Kigali, and Poughkeepsie. As a designer, writer, and teacher, his work investigates the social and political consequences of the built world. Michael's research and writing 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 with the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda, their portfolio of work has expanded to over a dozen countries and span the areas of healthcare, education, housing, urban development, and more recently, food systems, indigenous sovereignty, and the public monument.

Michael’s 2016 TED Talk invites viewers to question how architecture can be a tool for healing and the construction of dignity. To this end, MASS seeks partnerships and projects that examine our structural systems and how to reconstruct them through our built environment.

MASS’s work has been recognized and published widely. Most recently, MASS has been recognized as recipients of 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 Award in Architecture.

MASS’s most recent project, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery Alabama has been featured in over 400 publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and 60 Minutes. A recent architectural review by Mark Lamster of Dallas Morning News called the memorial,"the single greatest work of American architecture of the 21st century."

Michael is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, has taught at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, the Boston Architectural College, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 2018, he was a Santa Fe Art Institute Equal Justice Resident.

Michael is from Poughkeepsie, NY, and holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Chicago.

Photo: Michael Murphy giving his TED Talk

TED Talk: Architecture that's Built to Heal