Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


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Michael J. Underhill

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Area: Dean's Office,Design
Category: Administration,Faculty
Title: Sr. Associate Dean, Professor of Architecture
Office: Design South, Rm. 216
Phone: 480.965.1919
Specialty: Urban Design, Architectural Design, Architectural Technology, Urban Planning
E-mail: michael.underhill@asu.edu
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Michael Underhill is the Sr. Associate Dean for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, professor of architecture for The Design School and maintains a small practice in the Phoenix area. His passion is for contemporary architecture that is clean and simple but also enables individual owner expression and urban design strategies that enhance neighborhoods.

Sr. Associate Dean Underhill holds a master’s degree of city planning in urban design from Harvard University and received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to Arizona to direct the ASU School of Architecture, Underhill chaired the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University, directed the School of Architecture at Rice University and was a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Toronto. Michael has since served as executive dean of the ASU Herberger Institute, program coordinator for the Master of Urban Design (MUD) program in The Design School, interim director of the Phoenix Urban Research Lab (PURL) and adjunct faculty for the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) at ASU. His visiting professor appointments include Harvard University; University of California, Berkley; University of Texas Austin and Universidad Católica de Chile.

Underhill’s professional experience includes the studio of Charles and Ray Eames, the offices of Imre and Anthony Halasz, CRSS Architects, Taft Architects and a founding principal of Cisneros Underhill in Houston. Michael has won 12 design awards, including six local, state and regional design awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Progressive Architecture (P/A). His work has been published in Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Iowa Architect Magazine, Texas Architect, Cite, Designers West Magazine and Desert Living Magazine. Michael’s most recent publication, a chapter co-authored by Joseph Ewan, in “Remaking Metropolis: Global Challenges of the Urban Landscape” titled “The Human/Nature Interface: Explorations of the Urban Edge,” focuses on managing the urban/nature border at desert preserves in the contemporary city.

Michael has spoken widely on urban design and architecture; served on numerous design juries including juries at University of California, Los Angeles; Harvard University; Tulane University; Art Center College of Design; Bennington College; and for the San Antonio Public Library. Michael has also carried out urban design projects in Houston and both in Nicaragua and Chile with Imre Halasz.

His dedication to designing efficient, low-rise housing, which enhances the redevelopment of the downtown Phoenix area, is demonstrated through recent Phoenix area projects such as Portland 38, Missouri 22, Earll 20, Metro 4th Avenue, Evergereen 9 and Willeta 9. Michael’s interests and focuses are also exhibited through funded research projects concentrating on residential design, converting financially distressed properties into green spaces for increased community connectivity, urban programming and site planning, historic preservation of small-town civic spaces and indigenous population space studies.

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