Michael Sorkin (1948-2020)



Back in 2014 I discovered that Michael Sorkin had been a recent juror on the Surfer’s Paradise Precinct design competition panel in Australia. Having been familiar with Michael’s articles and other writings, I was hoping he would be available for an interview—the exuberant design by ARM Architecture that won certainly had pushed the envelope. Michael did agree to a phone interview, and it turned out to be unusual in one sense. Having done many interviews by phone, I sensed with Michael that he was almost in the same room with me. I didn’t have to see his facial expressions; he described the event with such clarity and insight and drew such a clear picture, that I almost felt as if I had experienced it vicariously. 


-G. Stanley Collyer, Editor


Michael Sorkin (comments)


The measure of Michael’s worth is being well expressed in the numerous messages and obits being shared by our community of friends, colleagues, and students. As colleagues at CCNY for the past 20+ years I can say his absence here will only be equaled, over time, by the legacy he leaves.

Thank you for adding to it.  -Lance

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, DPACSA   
Architecture + Urban Design
President, Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization



Michael’s wit, penetrating insights, and brilliant writing have impacted generations—my students included. He shall be missed by the many who had the good fortune of knowing him.  –Roger

Roger Schluntz, FAIA
Professor and Dean Emeritus 
School of Architecture and Planning
University of New Mexico



Thank you for sharing this recording with us.

Listening to Michael’s voice was lovely today

And in such a visceral manner made him so present

This loss is painful

To the Architecture world

And to the world of loyal friendships

It is a very sad day


Karen Van Lengen, FAIA

Kenan Professor of Architecture

Dean (1999-2009)

University of Virginia



It is hard for me to imagine architectural discussion and even more, New York, without Michael.  He was a remarkable critic, so full of life and humor and passion for what he believed in. He was a relentless advocate for creativity, with a perpetually rebellious formal sense, and commitment to sustainability and equity.  One example, His bold take on zoning in Local Code was extraordinarily original. He tried to write a code that would create a city we actually want to live in, prescient in his ideas for coding performance. This extended to his students and collaborators, some of whom won Van Alen competitions and worked with me there for several years.  He inspired people to believe that architecture and urban design were meaningful after 9/11 in ways few imagined, and he believed in design studios as purposeful even in places of conflict. He couldn’t imagine being afraid of conflict, saw its creative side, and knew that sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in.  A loss  for all of us.  -Ray

Raymond Gastil, AICP, Director

Remaking Cities Institute

Carnegie Mellon University 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



We were shocked to hear about losing such a clear, constant voice of conscience when Michael Sorkin left us. We can speak more about his legacy to our architectural world, students and faculties at universities and our urban community, all searching for definition, solutions and humanity. Let’s speak soon after this crisis subsides or passes and hope we do not lose another friend.  -Ted

Theodore Liebman, FAIA

Principal, Perkins Eastman 

New York, NY



Thank you so much for sharing! He will be surely missed. 


Michel Mounayar, R.A.
Professor of Architecture

Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana