Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA, MArch '78

Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA founded his practice Lehrer Architects LA in his native Silverlake District of Los Angeles. His work, from the intimate to the monumental, is grounded in the idea that beauty is a rudiment of human dignity. He designs for community with a reverence for light and space as the spiritual essence of architecture. Delight is a matter of extreme gravitas in the work.

Lehrer Architects LA has won over 120 (45 AIA) major national, state, and local design awards. Michael’s work has been widely published nationally and internationally and he is regularly called upon to comment about design matters in national and local broadcast media, print, panels and symposia to explain the public interest through the lens of design. This includes Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, ARCHITECT, Business Week, Azure, Builder Magazine, Metropolitan Home, NPR’s Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, KCRW’s Which Way L.A.?, The LA Times, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Hong Kong’s avant garde Hinge Magazine, among many others. In the past two years, Michael has lectured on his work at Stanford, Berkeley, University of Michigan, Woodbury University, the Dallas Architecture Forum, Dwell on Design, Governing Magazine/AARP, among many others. He regularly sits on academic and professional AIA design juries around the country, among them the AIA New York City Urban Design Jury and the AIA Institute Honor Awards Jury for Architecture.

Michael is a Chairman Emeritus of the Alumni Council of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He has served as the GSD-appointed Director on the Harvard Alumni Association Board and is Past President of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles. He was Vice Chairman of School Construction Bond Oversight Committee for over 5 years, overseeing a (now) $27 Billion repair and construction program for the LA Unified School District. He served on the Hollywood Planning and Design Review Board for over 25 years.

He is a past President of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles where he founded their annual Legislative Day, which has fundamentally changed the nature of the profession in LA.  He initiated the AIA/LA push to make GREAT STREETS a central initiative in Los Angeles.

Educated at Berkeley and Harvard after attending LAUSD public schools, Michael has been on the adjunct faculty at the University of Southern California since 1986. Prior to 1985, Michael worked at Frank O. Gehry and Associates and other design offices.

Michael started at the GSD in 1975 in the 4th semester of the MArch I Program, fresh from undergraduate architecture at Berkeley. He entered with the class of ’79, but was scheduled to graduate in ’77. He took one semester off, so he graduated in ’78, making him a member of the classes of ’77, ’78, and ’79, comfortable in all classes, but not just of one. He married an MLA student, thus becoming a leading edge transdisciplinarian.

Mia Guttfreund Lehrer MLA ’79 and Michael met on Michael’s first day at the GSD, September 1, 1975. After flirting for 3 months on the trays and stairs of GSD, they got it together. The got married one year later. Their relationship, then and since, bears witness to the power of John Andrews’ Gund Hall (significantly predating computer matchmaking as a proven place to find a simpatico mate).

By far, their most extraordinary projects are their three children: Benjamin MArch ’11, a colleague of Michael at Lehrer Architects (and Laura), Rebecca (and Neil), and Raphael, and their grandchildren: Gabriel, Roxanna, and Clara.