Michael P Johnson IAA
An Approach to Design Practice
The approach of Michael P. Johnson’s work exemplifies remarkable qualities which rank it among the most valuable paradigms of contemporary architecture. Notwithstanding the climate of corporate America which has overwhelmed the architectural profession, Michael remains one of the “endangered species” in the field; he is one of the last representatives of artists who have never drawn a line between their life and work, who practice architecture on strong ethical codes and personal convictions.
Michael’s alternative approach results in buildings which magnetize, engross and entertain us. His tender care for the subtle environments he creates, juxtaposed with the intense use of simple materials and methods, produces an architecture that naturally defies trends and serves its purpose.
His buildings are highly interactive, as all conventional boundaries of space are reinterpreted in light of innovation, comfort and awareness. They engage us with passion, make us move about, look, sometimes frown in curiosity and amazement, but always leaving us with an elevated sense of enclosure in his architecture; we are constantly tantalized by the careful planning of the “hard elements” of the building (the walls, the partitions, the furniture) while we are placed in perpetual motion between near and distant views, enhanced by the reverberation of the quality of craftsmanship in the hard elements themselves.
Michael’s designs use innovation as the route to expanded understanding of our lives, to our conscious care for the environment, and our continuous journey towards discovery of the transient values that mark the human spirit. It is these qualities that are seldom explored in the traditional schools that prepare the new generations of architects, and it is the very same qualities that make Michael’s architecture appealing to architecture’s youth, who seek him out in field trips and architectural pilgrimages.
As it is with all great works of art, the architecture of Michael P. Johnson -- drawing both on his embrace of the finest traditions of world architecture and a formidable command of history and literature -- would have no power if it failed to represent the man who creates it. This delightful, caring and outspoken architect, spending most of his time between leaning over a busy drafting board and reclining in an Eames chair engrossed in a book, is extruding a legacy that will continue to be sought out and assessed well into our uncertain future.