Visiting professor Michael Willis, FAIA, NOMA, will deliver a lecture titled Storytelling with Architecture: The Six Projects that Changed My Practice. Over Willis' 28-year career at Michael Willis Architects (now MWA), there were a few projects that became a narrative theme in the practice. He will talk about how those projects directed the story of MWA Architects.
Willis founded MWA Architects Inc. in 1988 and served as a principal until 2016. Since 2017 he has been an independent design consultant. This spring, he is teaching at his alma mater, Washington University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 and a Master of Architecture and Master of Social Work in 1976.
MWA has created master plans and designs for several mixed-income affordable housing projects and neighborhood revitalization projects in San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Detroit, St. Louis, Memphis, and post-Katrina New Orleans (Faubourg Lafitte). He has served as principal on large public projects including the New International Terminal at San Francisco Airport and the current new Central Subway Yerba Buena/Moscone Station for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
"Making Water Present" via water infrastructure projects has been central to his practice. This work includes planning and design for water and wastewater plants (from 8-750 million
gallons a day) in California cities such as Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockton, and Richmond.
Willis served as president of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of
Architects (AIASF) in 1995 and was elevated to Fellowship in 1996. He has served on many
committees and juries for the national AIA.
He has received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Washington University, the Sam Fox School, and the Brown School, and holds a National Black Achievement award of the Black Alumni Council (1996). He delivered the Brown School's Commencement address in 2007.