Mike is a native of Poquoson, Virginia, a small waterfront city on the western shore of the
The Chesapeake Bay, locally known as “Bull Island”, is one of the oldest (1631) continuously named
cities in Virginia, where he still resides.
He worked for several years in high school on construction sites during summers, and later
while in college with architectural firms in Norfolk, Charlottesville, Newport News, and
A few years out of the University of Virginia, School of Architecture (BARCH 1972) and with 5 years of firm practice, registration, and building a new home, he began a sole proprietorship in 1977, later expanding that firm in 1979. Shortly after having their Hampton office in the historic Roseland Manor House, on the shores of the Hampton Roads Harbor, was destroyed by fire, the the firm merged with John Paul Hanbury, FAIA and Company in 1985, relocating to downtown Norfolk.
Around that time, Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas (HEWV) (now trading as Hanbury) embarked on a focused plan to embrace a smaller number of client market areas. Mike along with Jane Cady Rathbone, FAIA volunteered to lead the newly named Academic Studio.
With only a few previous college and university projects, the opportunities, challenges, and competition were formidable. With a shared appreciation of academic environments, and with high expectations about design and planning, the studio and firm began a 30+ year voyage of academic work across the United States, and occasionally beyond, that continues today.
Hanbury has now worked with over 175 higher education clients. Mike worked with many campuses, including the planning and initial design for an entirely new campus for the University of Macao, Guangdong province, mainland China, on land leased to the Macau SAR government. He was also involved in planning and design for what was a new student housing complex, and the 2002 Winter Olympic Village at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, along with work in Qatar, Uruguay, Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain.
He was a Design Principal and CEO of HEWV for a number of years, retiring from active practice in 2015.
Mike has also been active in the local and professional communities, including having served six years on the Poquoson City School Board. He served as a founder and Chairman of the Poquoson Education Foundation, Inc. and as Chairman of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He was President of the Hampton Roads AIA Chapter and Vice-President of AIA Virginia. He conducted numerous conference and collegiate speaking engagements, including in China and South Africa, Design Award Juries, and was for several years a presenting participant in the AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture session in Norfolk.
What does it take to be an Architect?
Passion for design and creative thinking, enjoyment of teamwork, constant learning, and hard work!
Mike believes that investing in learning about the client community, their concerns and needs, and the design and firm environment you want to embrace, is one of the paths for a long and satisfying career. You should cherish your efforts that improve and impact people and places, as it is the very best career award. Learn to listen, lead, share, involve, and praise others. He also encourages the study of human behavior and systems thinking for a more expansive set of leadership skills and tools.
Who are the architects that inspired you?
Mitchell / Giurgola, Hugh Jacobson, Calatrava, Clark / Menefee, Kenzo Tange, and many partners, classmates, consultants, and professors…….and Carlton Abbott, FAIA.
What are you currently reading?
Currently reading The Wizard and The Prophet, by Charles C. Mann, about dueling concepts of two early environmental scientists about the future. Will we simply embrace and rely on technological progress (Wizard), or rely on resource conservation (Prophet) to continue to have and feed an expanding world population? He prefers to focus on non-fiction reading topics.
What has been your best meal ever?
His “best” meal was at a restaurant in Hong Kong with other firm members. The HUTONG Restaurant in Hong Kong was the best view and food! His most memorable meal(s) will always be from enjoying whole family lunches at his grandparents’ house each Sunday, and occasionally on his grandfather’s fishing boat.
Why volunteer with the AIA?
AIA is our knowledge community and advocate. You get to share your thoughts and experiences and learn from the whole range of firms, individual architects, and issues. Every hour you serve AIA improves your skill and knowledge set and enhances your access to and relationships with others in the design and construction industry.
Currently, what are you doing?
Having retired from active practice, he now spends more time trying to fix his golf game, doing occasional sketching, and enjoying time on the North Carolina OBX, in the mountains of Virginia, and with five amazing grandchildren!