Michael Murphy Lecture

Beyond the Building


Please note, this lecture has changed from February 23 to April 8

This lecture is free and open to the public. AIA continuing education credits will be offered.

"Beyond the Building"

By applying holistic thinking and focusing on the process of constructing a building as much as—if not more than—the physical building itself, architects have the ability to not only design the built environment, but also to build capacity, create dignity, and empower. MASS Design Group combines innovative and appropriate design with immersive research and uses the design process to capitalize on local educational opportunities to generate systemic change, break the cycle of poverty, and ultimately create buildings that heal.

MASS Design Group is a nonprofit architectural firm based in Boston, Massachusetts and Kigali, Rwanda that aims to improve people’s lives through design and to be an example for how designers can rethink their role in the world. Their work, spanning across Africa, Haiti, and the US focuses on leveraging architecture to become an engine for better health, economic growth, and long-term sustainability. MASS's philosophy about architecture hinges on the adage that design is never neutral; it can either help or it can hurt, and MASS judges success by evaluating the degree to which radical improvement on community health is produced.

Michael Murphy is the executive director of MASS Design Group, which he cofounded with Alan Ricks in 2008. Since leading the design and construction of the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, Michael has become a thought leader in architecture and healthcare design. Michael regularly speaks to a variety of audiences on how architecture can improve people’s lives, and sits on the boards of the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee and the Center for Healthcare Design, among others. An architect by training, Michael was recently listed in the Atlantic Monthly as one of the “Greatest Innovators of Today.” In the past year alone, MASS was named finalists for the TED Prize, The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and received the World Architecture News Buro Happold Award. Michael is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
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