Michael Palmer

Principal, Chicago

Mike was the kid who loved buildings.  He talked about them, took pictures of them, and built them out of Legos.  But it was at a junior-high leadership camp at Saint John’s University that Mike’s eyes were opened to the impact that a building can have on a place.  He was struck by the way the unusual and experimental beauty of Marcel Breuer’s modern Abbey Church made Saint John’s campus feel so different from any other place he’d been.

Inspired by the impression the Abbey Church had on him in his youth, Mike judges his projects’ success by the impact they have on their surroundings. He believes that a well-designed building gets noticed, exceeds expectations and, most importantly, can transform the very atmosphere of a campus or neighborhood into something unique.

work philosophy
Timing is everything.

“Timing is everything. You can have the right answer. You can have a great idea. But if you bring it up too late, or when people don’t want to hear it, it’s not going to count.”

Confidential Banking Firm
A dynamic full-city-block expansion of an existing corporate headquarters in Charlotte.
Iconic Tower
A mixed-use supertall tower that will occupy a prominent site within Cairo’s new Central Business District.
Crate & Barrel Corporate Headquarters
The building is essentially a linear bar with projecting office wings to one side. The building’s siting and extensive use of glass and courtyards opens the interior to the landscape and takes advantage of the site’s terrain and mature woods.

Michael's Featured Work

Northwestern University Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center
Evanston, Illinois
American University of Beirut Medical Center, New Medical Center Expansion
Beirut, Lebanon
High School Stacks
William Jones College Preparatory High School
Chicago, Illinois