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March 27, 2020
by AIA New York
Michael Sorkin. Photo courtesy Storefront for Art and Architecture, Membership Dinner 2010.

The architectural community has lost a great teacher and thought leader with the passing this week of Michael Sorkin. Sorkin was a key professor on the campus of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College of New York and was a visiting professor at leading institutions around the country. He provided mentorship, inspiration, and incisive commentary to generations of designers. Beyond the classroom, he published in a variety of formats, bringing wit and probing analysis to topics germane to New York and the world.

Beyond his academic role, Sorkin headed Michael Sorkin Studio, an international design practice, and was an active participant in Terreform, a collaborative group of designers, social scientists, and urban researchers.

His personal impact is vividly portrayed by just a few comments we’ve received upon news of his death.

“To say we’re devastated by this news is simply an understatement. I’m sure Michael had many friends—and debating and sparring partners—amongst you: our shared disciplines have lost an important, irreverent, brilliant and deeply insightful voice. “
– Lesley Lokko, Dean, Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York

“What a terrible, terrible loss of an amazing voice, faithful friend, and animateur of so many debates.  I know some of us will be rereading favorite pieces to try to keep some sense of contact with this devastatingly witty moral compass.”
– Barry Bergdoll, President, Center for Architecture

“I remember when students pinned up his MIT thesis manifesto, which critiqued the architecture pedagogy of his time, to resurrect important discussions for the discipline.  His voice was always sharp and clear. “
– J. Meejin Yoon, AIA, FAAR, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University.

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